I had an obsession with ancient Egypt when I was younger. I wanted nothing more than to grow up, become an archaeologist, and excavate ancient tombs. I read absolutely every book about mummies I could get my tiny hands on, and was far more interested in the embalming process that I was in playing dress up. Growing up with tooth brushes, tooth paste, and regular visits to the dentist, I was blown away by the fact that a lot of ancient Egyptians died as a result of tooth decay and tooth infections. To me, growing up in the time and place I did, it seemed like such a silly thing to die from. This obsession with the ancient dead, more than any deliberate tactics that may have been used by my parents, teachers, or dentists, instilled in me the importance of taking care of my teeth.
So, we now come to the title of this post. Why should I, or you, floss? If this seems like an unnecessary and common sense question to you, you might be surprised to find out that a lot of people don’t floss. According to Statistic Brain, only half of all Americans floss daily, and almost 20% of Americans don’t ever floss. That, to me, is crazy. True, it takes extra time to floss, floss can sometimes be relatively expensive depending on the kind you get (I’m sort of a snob when it comes to floss, so this definitely applies to me), and if you don’t floss regularly, it can even hurt. Still, despite all of these reasons, flossing is definitely the better alternative. Why? Here are a few great reasons.
- It’s less expensive than the alternative. If the fact that floss is just an unnecessary expense or a pain to try to remember to pick up when you’re at the store, just remember that buying and using floss is much less expensive than paying to have a root canal or a cavity filled.
- It hurts less than the alternative. Getting your teeth worked on is painful. Even if it hurts you to floss, it’s worth it, and the truth is that once you get into a regular routine of flossing, it usually stops hurting.
- Brushing and flossing your teeth is linked to a smaller risk of heart disease. Granted, there’s not a lot of research in regards to this, but scientists do think there’s a connection. Read more about it at WebMD.
- Tooth infections are serious stuff. Before we had all of the medical technology we have now, people died from tooth infections regularly. Now that we have multiple ways of keeping up our oral hygiene, it’s far less common than it once was, but it still happens. Every now and then, there will be a story in the news about someone who died from the effects of a tooth infection, like this young father.
Clearly, brushing and flossing are extremely important. If you don’t already floss, I would highly suggest starting, for the reasons listed above. For those of you that already floss and are interested in getting extra help in terms of prevention, Indianapolis Dentist has a great list of preventative services that are available. We have so many resources out there to help us stay healthy and safe. We’re lucky to live in a time when common causes of death in the past are preventable now. So why should you floss? The answer is simply this: because unlike those who came before us, you can.