Can Flossing Make You Sick?

Over the years there’s been some discussion about whether you really need to floss. We’re here to tell you that you do! We’re on board with the American Dental Association’s recommendation to clean in between teeth with floss or another interdental cleaner once a day. 

Despite the recommendation, a survey found that only 30% of Americans floss daily and about 32% admit to not flossing at all! While we don’t know why so many Americans have decided to toss the floss, we do know that flossing helps to keep you healthy, not make you sick.

At Hamby Family Dental, a dentist in Fuquay-Varina NC, we are taking a closer look at why you need to floss, what happens when you don’t floss regularly as well as some flossing techniques you can try to maintain your oral health.

Not Flossing? Why It Can Lead to Bacteria in the Bloodstream & Other Problems

You may think that if you’re brushing your teeth, that’s enough to keep your mouth healthy. But, after you eat, particles of food are left behind on your teeth. This leads to plaque forming. Plaque can cause bad breath, teeth staining, tartar, and even losing teeth if you don’t take care of it. Flossing gets to the plaque that forms between your teeth and underneath your gum line. Your toothbrush can’t get there, but floss can.

If you haven’t flossed in a while or have irregular habits, you may want to get on the flossing bus and stay there. When you don’t brush and floss regularly, it can lead to gum disease because Streptococcus bacteria build up in your mouth. Gum disease leads to sore gums that bleed, allowing bacteria to get into the bloodstream.

Researchers found that once Streptococcus bacteria get into the bloodstream, they use a protein to take blood platelets and force them to clump together. Platelet clumping can lead to small blood clots, inflammation of blood vessels that can block the blood supply to the brain and heart, and growths on the heart valves.

The lesson here is clear. To avoid bacteria from getting into the bloodstream and causing health problems, floss regularly.

The Importance of Oral Health

Many adults and children don’t realize how their oral health impacts so many other areas of their general health. While gum disease, bad breath, and tooth loss are some of the more commonly known consequences, not brushing properly and ignoring recommendations to floss can affect other parts of the body

This can lead to:

  • Breathing in pathogens from periodontal disease
  • Brain abscesses
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
flossing can make you sick

When you hear about these possible side effects of poor oral health habits, it should make you want to reach for that floss!

Proper Flossing Technique

Now that we know why it’s important to floss, you need to know how to floss the right way.

Here are some pointers to get you going:

  • Gently guide the floss between your teeth, using a rubbing motion.
  • When you get down to your gums, curve the floss and slide it under the gum line.
  • Rub the floss against the tooth, while going up and down
  • Repeat between all of your teeth!

If you’re not a big floss fan, there are some alternatives to traditional dental floss. These include:

  • Water flossers
  • Air flossers 
  • Interdental brushes
  • Pre-threaded floss

No matter what you choose, the important thing is that you are still flossing!

Request a Dentist Appointment Today with Hamby Family Dental Center

Do you need tips to floss like a boss? Contact Hamby Family Dental Center by calling 919-552-2431 or filling out the form below. You can also schedule your appointment online using the form below. Let us help you improve your oral health.

Appointment Request

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