Flossing is essential to maintaining your oral and general health. If you don’t floss, you are much more likely to suffer not only dental problems, but also serious health conditions that are not just expensive to treat—they are life-threatening.
Why You Should Floss
Dental floss cleans the space between the teeth and along the gumline. If you don’t floss, these bacteria can build up and alter the environment. Both brushing and flossing are designed to remove bacterial plaque.
Think of plaque like a bacteria city. It’s shelter and protection. Where there’s plaque, bacteria can grow safely. Imagine the difference between someone moving to Denver today as opposed to moving here 200 years ago when there were no houses. When there’s plaque surviving, the bacteria population can grow easily. If you remove all the plaque, bacteria has to live like pioneers in a harsh environment, which slows their growth. If you don’t remove plaque, it can grow like Denver does today: adding new suburbs every year.
And one of the places those new “suburbs” goes is between your teeth and your gums. As bacteria colonize here, they can irritate your gums, causing them to be red, painful, and bleeding, this is gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. As they grow, the acid they secrete will destroy your gums and separate them from your teeth. At this point, bacteria are not just in your gums, they’re entering your bloodstream and colonizing other places (including your coronary arteries, which leads to coronary artery disease and heart problems).
At a certain point, your immune system becomes alarmed at the extent of the bacterial infection, and it calls in the “bulldozers” to tear down the bacteria cities. Unfortunately, these immune system bulldozers destroy not just bacteria, but also your natural tissues, too, especially your bones and the ligaments that secure your teeth, resulting in tooth loss.
Flossing Is a Great Investment
Above, we alluded to the role of gum infection, called periodontitis, in health conditions like coronary artery disease. This means that people with gum disease have higher medical costs than those without. How much higher?
A new study shows that people who have other health conditions and are treated for gum disease have significantly lower annual medical costs than those who do not have their gum disease treated. The savings were about $2840 a year for diabetes, $5681 for cerebrovascular disease (blood vessel problems in the brain), $2433 for pregnancy, and $1090 for coronary artery disease.
Preventing gum disease by flossing has minimal costs. If you use 18 inches of dental floss a day, you’ll use a little more than 4 44-yard rolls of dental floss. At a cost of $3.37 per each, your total flossing cost for the year is $14.07, which means flossing could have an ROI (return on investment) of more than 40,000%! Even if you add in the costs of dental cleanings, toothbrushes, and toothpaste, your annual ROI is at least 3-400% if you have coronary artery disease. And think about the savings if you never develop coronary artery disease!
So, start flossing today, and if you are overdue for an appointment, please schedule one at Ascent Dental in the Cherry Creek area of Denver today.