The One Thing You Need To Change About Your Dental Routine

New year means a new you! Or, at the very least, new goals and routines. With the year kicking off to a fresh start, now is the perfect time to upgrade your oral care regimen. Here are the top reasons why you should make flossing a priority in 2018:

Prevent cavities

Not only does your diet impact your chances for cavities and gingivitis, but so do your flossing habits. Your toothbrush isn’t capable of reaching every spot on every tooth, yet it is crucial for removing plaque between your teeth and up just under your gum line. Plaque feeds off of the acids from leftover food remnants that you can’t tell are present, and eventually can cause cavities if left untouched. ( source )

Prevent gingivitis and tartar build-up around your gum line

When plaque is not removed, it becomes a rough surface called tartar (and once tartar sets in, it can only be removed by a dentist). Tartar collects up and around the gum line and can cause gingivitis—and anything that ends in “-itis” is not something you want to have in your mouth. ( source )

Flossing is less painful than the use of foreign objects for food removal

In a study done in consultation with the ADA, the majority of people surveyed confessed to using one of the following to remove food from their teeth: fingernails, folded pieces of paper, even safety pins. ( source )

Trust us when we say, a simple piece of floss is less painful and more effective than any of these other “tools.” None of these are able to reach the places that food may be lodged (nor should they), and they are definitely not recommended by the ADA.

Bleeding gums don’t last forever

Lots of people experience bleeding gums when they first start flossing, simply because their gums aren’t used to all the action. This typically goes away after one week of regular flossing, and is less painful when your gums get used to the sensation. ( source )

There are flossing alternatives that are just as effective

Not everyone is cut out for the spool of mint-flavored teeth thread. That’s okay! The good news is there’s another option to get the same deep clean your teeth so desperately want (and need), that doesn’t cut off the circulation of your index fingers.

Water flossing works by flushing water between and around all of your teeth. They are especially convenient for people with braces (among other dental hardware). Here is a list of ADA-approved water flossers to get you started. ( source )

All benefits of flossing considered, plus the option of water flossing, make 2018 the year of your improved oral care. Plus, you won’t have to worry about lying to your dentist next time they ask you how often you floss—they’ll believe you when they see your healthy gums!