Question: Why is it so important to floss every day?
Answer: Every day in my practice, I have to remind patients about the importance of flossing. Ideally, a person should floss once each day. Tooth brush bristles cannot reach the areas between our teeth or below the gum line. This allows dental plaque to build up for days and weeks in some instances. When plaque is allowed to sit for that long, it increases the risk of cavities and causes inflammation of the gum tissue, or gingivitis. Untreated gingivitis leads to a much more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis which can lead to tooth loss in severe cases. Flossing does not have to take place before bedtime when many people are simply too tired. Find a time in your day that works for you, like after lunch or as you watch your favorite television programs at night. Whenever you find time to floss, just stick with it. As your skills improve, so will your speed. For those who lack the manual dexterity to floss, there are many flossing aids on the market that allow a one-handed flossing technique. It is common for gums to feel sore or bleed after a person starts flossing regularly for the first time. This should improve after a couple of weeks as the gums become healthier. If pain or bleeding persists, contact your dentist for an evaluation.