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To floss or not to floss? This question has been on almost everyone’s mind thanks to a recent article published by The Associated Press. According to this article, there is little proof that flossing actually works.

But, don’t throw out your dental floss just yet. Dental experts say flossing is still necessary to maintain good dental hygiene. Here are a few reasons why you should still keep flossing a part of your daily routine:

1) Dislodges Stubborn Bits of Food

Don’t get caught with an embarrassing piece of broccoli stuck in your teeth. Flossing removes food particles and plaque in between your teeth and under your gums, places your toothbrush can’t reach.

If not removed, plaque eventually hardens into tartar or calculus. When left untreated, tartar can lead to cavities and gum disease which has been linked to cardiovascular disease.

Tartar cannot be removed by brushing or flossing. Only a professional cleaning can scrape it away. Flossing regularly will help you keep plaque in check and avoid more serious dental issues.

2) Flossing Once A Day Keeps Gingivitis Away

Think flossing is a waste of time? Think again. The American Dental Association says flossing once a day can prevent and even get rid of gingivitis.

Also, in a recent study conducted by UB Dental, two types of floss were tested for their effectiveness in removing plaque and reducing gingivitis. The study found that both flosses reduced plaque by about 12-15% and gingivitis by the same 12-15%.

While this isn’t a huge reduction, the study shows that flossing can make a difference in your dental health. And, every little bit counts when keeping your teeth in tip-top shape!

3) Flossing Linked to Longer Life

Are flossing and longevity related? Surprisingly, yes.

Findings from the Leisure World Cohort Study reported that using dental floss every day, brushing your teeth before bed and visiting the dentist were significant risk factors for longevity. Never flossing increased health risks by 30% compared to flossing every day.

In fact, flossing is so essential to your overall health, that it’s one of the questions included in the Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator. This tool asks 40 quick questions related to your health and family history. It then uses your answers to give a rough estimate of how long you’ll live.

You may be thinking, can I trust this calculator’s results? While no life expectancy calculator is 100% accurate, this tool’s creator is Thomas Perls, an attending geriatrician at Boston Medical Center and professor at the Boston University School of Medicine. And, the tool uses the most current medical and scientific data to determine your lifespan.

How Often Should You Floss?

Luckily, you only need to floss daily to gain its benefits. Whether you floss in the morning, after dinner, at night or whenever is up to you. Just remember to take the time to floss at some point during the day.

And, don’t forget about the little ones. Children should begin flossing at an early age, as soon as two teeth touch.

Daily flossing and brushing are important steps to maintaining healthy teeth, but don’t forget to schedule regular dental visits. Only an experienced dentist can spot dental issues early and stop them in their tracks.

West Chester Dental Arts offers preventative dental care and specialized services to remove plaque and tartar buildup and keep your teeth clean and fresh. Ready to flash a more confident and healthier smile? Get your free set of X-rays, exam & consult offered to all our new patients here!