Of all the jars, bottles and tubes in your medicine cabinet, dental floss is a beauty and health product not being used frequently enough.
Most of us floss sometimes – but not all of us clean between our teeth every day, as we should. When we asked 1,200 people in Washington if they had flossed yesterday, six out of 10 said they had. But four out of 10 had not – meaning they are missing out on the benefits of cleaning around each tooth.
Cleaning between the teeth at least once a day reduces the potential for nasty and stinky infections.
When any two teeth touch, cleaning between the teeth is necessary. Brushing alone cannot clear debris between teeth.
When fragments or bits of food are left to fester, infections and gum disease can follow. Gum disease not only means swollen, bleeding gums, it can create chronic inflammation. And that has been linked to diabetes and cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, blockages of blood vessels, and stroke.
Other studies have shown adults with gum disease and gingivitis performed worse on tests of memory and other cognitive skills than those with healthier gums and mouths.
For those who floss regularly, there’s a certain yoga-like zen to what is often part of the bedtime ritual, a chance to rid oneself of the debris of the day and a chance to relax without worries of what might be brewing in one’s mouth. If flossing is part of your morning routine, you can start the day knowing there is no rotten food hiding in your teeth. When you floss, you have fresh breath, which helps make you more attractive.
Flossing is also a daily beauty and grooming tool that helps you look younger. Unhealthy teeth and receding gums are noticeable signs of aging that can be easily avoided.
Considering that flossing takes a couple of minutes, you can’t beat the return on that time investment. Move over, downward dog.