Skip the Plastic Surgery-- All You Need is Floss!

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Flossing your teeth is something everyone knows they should do, but many people don't. When you're in a hurry to get out the door in the morning, or ready to go to sleep after a long day, stopping to floss is the last thing you want to do. But you'd be surprised at the benefits of regular flossing. Experts say that flossing can do more than plastic surgery to fight the effects of aging.

Why do you need to floss regularly? For starters, brushing your teeth only does 60% of the job. Flossing cleans 40% of your teeth surfaces by removing the sticky plaque in stuck in between teeth. This bacteria causes staining and yellowing between and around teeth. A buildup of plaque can also cause gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. Gum disease is more common than you might think. The American Academy of Periodontology reports that at least 23% of women between 30 and 54, and 44% of women over 55, have severe gum disease. According to a spokesman for the Academy of General Dentistry, "You register an older look because you see more spaces, less and uneven gum tissue. Hence the quaint term for aging, "long in the tooth."

Gum disease can eventually dissolve the bones in the mouth. According to a recent study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, "bone loss in the jaw, as well as the eye sockets and cheeks, aged people in ways that cosmetic procedures that tighten and plump the skin, can’t fix." So it looks like you can save time and money by skipping the Botox and flossing instead!

Do you floss your teeth regularly? Why or why not?

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My teeth are tightly packed together so I didn't floss for years, then I found a floss that is flat and that turned me into a flosser. the name brand of the one I use is Glide, but I am sure there are others - it made all the diffference. Report
Twice a day. I can't imagine missing it because as I get older, more seems to stick to my teeth. Dentist says it has to do with changes in body chemistry as we age. Report
Almost every night. Report
Every night Report
I better floss... I'm a dentist. LOL Report
Yes! I have some teeth that are spaced a little wider than the rest and I can't stand feeling food between them. Another good reason to floss it that there's a link that's been found between plaque on your teeth and plaque in your heart. Get two health benefits for the price of one. Report
I am hygiene obsessed when it comes to dental health. My teeth are very weak so I do have to deal with cavities somewhat frequently, but I always have otherwise great reports from the dentist on gum health. Report
Yep, most every day Report
Can't say I'm as good as every day, but probably 5 days a week. My teeth are close together so I have to watch what floss I use. Report
Because of flossing every day, I have been able to reverse some of the periodontal "pocketing" I have recently experienced because of my teeth being over-crowded. My dentist told me to keep it up because it's working. I'm sold! Report
I personally don't because my teeth are very close together and my gums are extremely sensative so I rinse with listerine numerous times a day and brush 2-3 times a day (depending on what I've had to eat). Report
I work in a dental office and know how important it is to floss. It can literally extend your life by up to 7 years if you do it regularly!! Why not floss?! :) Report
Yes, we should all floss daily. However, the "experts" have put the cart before the horse. Studies DO show that people who floss regularly have younger-looking skin. That's true. But flossing does not give people younger-looking skin. It isn't a cause-effect relationship. The fact is that people who have excellent teeth-care skills often also have excellent skin-care skills (or any other self-care skill). Flossing does not give us younger-looking skin. Excellent self-care gives us younger-looking skin. So yes, keep flossing (or start, if you don't already) if you want healthy teeth and gums. AND, if you want younger-looking skin, use sunscreen daily and moisturizer each night. Blessings. Report
I have no cavities, and I am almost 30, but maybe I better start flossing and get my kids in the habit, too. My two oldest already have worse teeth than I did at their age, and I would like to keep them in as good of health as possible. Report
one of my sparkstreaks is actually to floss before bed each night because it was something I've never been in the habit of doing-now I do it nightly without a hitch! Report
I have flossed every morning for years. Once you get in the habit, you will feel like you haven't really brushed until you floss! Report
I can't keep enough floss in my home. I am a die hard flosser! Report
I floss every day. My dad is a retired dentist, and he used to come home with some really scary stories about people who didn't take care of their teeth. I am glad I formed the flossing habit in my teens... Report
Floss everyday!!
I'm a flosser..morning & evening and occasionally in between...because I've spent thousands of dollars on my teeth over the years and don't want to lose them to periodonatal disease. Plus research is showing the greater importance of dental health in correlation to other diseases. (I'm a water pikker, too) My hygienist is always pleased with how well I care for these expensive dentins. Report
I don't floss and used to blame it on not learning to as a kid. But I'm in my 40's, so I guess that doesn't really fly anymore! LOL! It's on my list of resolutions for 2010: make flossing a habit! Ummm- so far it's not been happening. So I hereby declare that I will begin TODAY! Report
I learned something today. After reading the blog and all the comments, I plan to start flossing. I don't have many teeth left, a full denture on top and a partial on the bottom, but I want to keep the teeth I have left. Prehaps if I had flossed I would have saved more of my own teeth. But it is never to late to learn something and try to improve yourself. Thanks for the advice Report
I have learned that there are signs of heart disease that appear in your mouth long before you have signs you can feel.

By visiting your dentist every six months and letting him/her know you have heart disease in the family, you can catch problems and start doing things or taking medications to help PREVENT heart disease or heart attacks. Report
I floss every day as I have a very good dentist who takes time to give advice. I dread the thought of false teeth as I saw how my parents struggled with them especially as they got older and less able to deal with them. Report
I should do it more often. I love spark for being my mom and finding new ways to motivate me to do things i should be doing anyway ;) Report
I floss every night before I go to bed. Report
No, I do not floss but only once a week. Guess I better get started on these pearls if I want to keep them. Report
Floss twice a day, followed by HydroFloss which is a great product. Report
Daily - especially at work where it's impossible to brush after meals or snacks Report
Every night! Have some periodontal disease in the family, so I'm pretty diligent about it. Report
I don't do it as often as I should but that is a habit I'm trying to incorporate. Report
YES, I do floss daily. I don't like the feel of food stuck between my teeth. UCK!!! Report
I finally got the message when the hygenist told me it was floss or else! I would do it a couple times a week but now I feel bad if I miss a day so I know that she is gonna be proud of me when I go back. I was having to go every 2 mo and it has increased to 4 months the past 2 visits and I think this time she will say I can go 6 mo-whoo hoo! Report
I was flossing really regularly for a while, and then stopped about a month ago, and just from a few weeks with out flossing, I really can feel a difference! I'm gonna go floss now ;) Report
Flossing feels good-after eating out , it feels good to get home and floss your teeth Report
I have a difficult time using the regular thread like floss. I did find a Water Pik Technologies product that is an automatic flosser. It is a lot easier on my hands, Now I floss on a regular basis and my dentist has noticed a difference. Report
This is great advice. I do floss twice a day, AM/PM but this should give me more incentive to keep it up.
Thanks for the terrific article. Report
I used to floss every day but the arthritis in my hands got so bad I could not reach my back teeth, so I got a Waterpik. Now I use that every day and floss my front teeth between meals if I need to. I also use a sonic electric toothbrush with a quadrant timer so I am sure to brush each quadrant of my mouth for the correct time. Report
This was a great blog, thanks for the info!! I always read the daily spark blogs but they're always pretty much about the same stuff. This was refreshing =) Report
Great blog!! Yes I floss. Flossing costs a few minutes. New replacement teeth cost $. Gum desease can cause a lot of other health problems that will involve other parts of the body. That is hurtful. Remember "flossing only costs time". Report
I'm determined to maintain good teeth. So, on the advice of my dentist, not only do I floss and brush (with an electric toothbrush with a timer, because my dentist says few people brush long enough). I do other things--at his suggestion. After flossing, I run a pointed, rubber tip just under the gums where they meet the teeth, then I dry brush with a very soft tooth brush. Next I have these tiny tiny, conical brushes in varying sizes to push back and forth between teeth. Finally, I do my pre-brushing rinse for one minute, then brush, then do my after brushing rinse for one minute. And I don't eat or drink anything for at least a half hour after all this. Maybe more information than you wanted to know. :-) Report
Wow!!!!! should start flossing!! Report
Wow, I never knew it was that important. Guess I'll be adding flossing to my regime now too.
Everyday! Report
Only floss the teeth you want to keep. Otherwise plan on dentures and a life time of halotosis, sorethroats, heart problems. Teeth are in very close proximity to your brain. Health is wealth. Report
I definitely floss daily. After doing it for awhile, it feels wrong not to! Report
I never used to floss much at all....until my teeth started falling apart. 2 or 3 years ago I had to have a full mouth rehabilitation, which involved several surgeries and a lot of time in dental chairs getting fillings, crowns and a bridge. Now I floss religiously. I've even got floss by my bed so that even if I forget to floss before I get into bed, I can still do it without having to get back up and go to the bathroom.

Getting my teeth fixed has really improved my health quite a bit. We all know that dental health and heart health are closely related, but did you know that dental health is also closely related to neurological health? It actually makes perfect sense, and I believe it has a lot to do with why my health has improved so much since I had all of this dental work done. I've got the neurological disorder multiple sclerosis, which involves a lot of inflammatory processes. So it makes perfect sense that dealing with all of the inflammation caused by not taking care of my teeth for so long would have an overall benefit for my health. Report
I'm a dental student, and one of the biggest things that people don't do is floss! I didn't before I went to dental school and after seeing what neglect will do, I don't want to risk it myself! Just taking the extra 30 sec to a min will make your mouth be (and feel) healthier! :D Report
Wow, good point. I knew that dental disease could kill, as some of the Egyptian mummies appear to have died from dental problems, but had never thought of flossing and gum health as a beauty secret, beyond the obvious don't offend friends and strangers thing (lol). I have now committed to more regular flossing, and charged up the SoniCare. Wish I could forward this to my dental hygienist. Report