By: Summer Saldana
Jam-packed schedules, endless to-do lists and long hours really take it out of you. And although flossing can sometimes seem like such an unnecessary extra step in your bedtime routine, it may actually be the secret to keeping your teeth — and more —healthy.
What a Toothbrush Can’t do
A toothbrush cleans exposed surfaces of your teeth, but it’s the floss that really digs into the crevices and loosens up stuck-in food and plaque — reaching places your toothbrush can’t.
Fluoride, too, can’t reach all the enamel of your teeth, which, if left un-flossed, could lead to tooth decay, gum disease and cavities.
In the end, while you may have thought you were saving a few minutes every night by not flossing, it will ultimately not only cost you more time in the dentist chair but more money paying for the work it takes to repair your teeth. No fun.
Flossing Kills Germs
As if cavities and tooth decay aren’t scary enough, there’s also the chronic bad breath when we don’t floss regularly. When teeth and gums are packed with germs and plaque, the natural consequence is bad breath.
But one surprising benefit: The improved odds of overall better health! Yes, researchers have discovered that built-up bacteria in our mouths (which is subsequently ingested) can lead to heart disease, diabetes and respiratory illness. So floss away! The flossing process dislodges and cleans out every little crevice, reducing the places bacteria and germs can hide.
Flossing doesn’t seem so bad now, especially if we add it to our nightly routine.
Tip: Choose waxy floss over the slim or slick kind. That way the floss can really grab the gunk, rather than just slide past it. And, floss before you brush. It may seem strange at first, but you loosen the plaque up for better results after you brush.
Floss as a Family
If you make flossing and brushing a family affair, you’re sure to be accountable. When it’s part of the nightly routine it will start to feel natural, like you’ve always flossed together. Having your entire family in on it definitely helps make it seem normal.
Tip: Your kids likely don’t love brushing, let alone throwing flossing in to the mix. Try making a point that flossing is the first step to brushing your teeth. That way it doesn’t seem like a completely separate activity.
Once flossing has become a habit, you’ll notice that you need to floss when you forget.
So, when you really dig in and see all the benefits of flossing your pearly whites, you’ll realize that flossing goes beyond a healthier mouth and extends to your overall health (and your family’s).
How do you get your family to adopt healthy everyday practices? Log in or register for P&G everyday and leave us a comment today!
Summer is the author of the popular blog Le Musings of Moi, which covers fashion, décor, style, parenting, health, fitness and whatever else interests this mother of two in SoCal. She also writes for Mommalogues and frequently posts videologues to YouTube.