How often do you floss your teeth? Although most people assume that they are alone in their rebellion against that minty string, the fact of the matter is that only about 50% of Americans floss daily, and close to 20%, or one in five, report not flossing at all. Unfortunately, skipping the floss could cost you, which is why Phoenix periodontists recommend making it a part of your daily dental hygiene regimen.
The Great Flossing Debate
In the summer of 2016, an associated press report called into question the efficacy of flossing, sparking a conversation about how often you really need to floss to keep your teeth healthy. Although the Federal Government had recommended flossing as part of a healthy dental regimen since 1979, the report stated that flossing had no real medical benefits. However, dentists across the world argued that patients who flossed regularly had fewer dental problems and healthier gums. In fact, as a response to the outrage, the American Dental Association (ADA) released the following statement.
“Flossing is an important oral hygiene practice. Tooth decay and gum disease can develop when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth and along the gum line. Professional cleaning, tooth brushing, and cleaning between teeth (flossing and the use of other tools such as interdental brushes) have been shown to disrupt and remove plaque.” – The American Dental Association
Understanding Gum Disease
To understand why flossing is so effective, it is important to understand how gum disease forms in the first place. Like the ADA mentioned, plaque and tartar tend to accumulate along the gum line. This accumulation acts as a food source for bacteria, which emit enamel-eroding acids and toxins as they multiply. Eventually, these toxins spark an inflammatory response in the gum tissue, and can even attack the periodontal ligament, causing loose or missing teeth. Toxins can even seep into the bloodstream, aggravating a myriad of health conditions. By flossing, you remove this gum line buildup, fighting gum disease directly.
Potential Cost of Not Flossing Your Teeth
In addition to causing inflamed gums, tooth loss, and even bone loss, failure to floss can also cost you a tremendous amount of money as a patient. Here is a little more information about what it might cost you if you decide not to make flossing a priority.
- Root planing and scaling to remove tartar below the gum line can cost upwards of $1,600.
- Surgical treatments for periodontitis can cost over $3,000.
- Since gum disease can attack the bone, you could end up spending $300 to $400 per tooth is you require bone grafts.
- Even simple tooth extraction can cost $100 per tooth, and then you are left choosing between dentures and dental implants. Dentures can cost up to $8,000 a set, and dental implants typically cost an average of $4,250 per tooth.
On the other hand, a single pack of dental floss costs under $5, and is available at most grocery, drug, and convenience stores across the country. Make flossing a priority today to save yourself time and money. To keep your teeth clean and healthy, schedule an appointment with the Arizona Periodontal Group.