Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Tampa Florida

Floss Only the Teeth You Want to Keep

Mar 02, 2012 06:49AM ● By Ginger Rodeghero

A recent study published by the British Medical Journal listed 11 successful habits to help you live to be 100. Number two on the list was "Floss your Teeth". Your dentist may have told you to "floss only the teeth you want to keep", but maybe he hasn’t explained why it is so important to floss daily.

As you eat, bacteria accumulate between your teeth. Your toothbrush does not reach these in-between areas. If your teeth are not properly cleaned, the bacteria will grow into colonies, resulting in the early stages of gingivitis. Your gums will start to appear red and puffy and will bleed easily. This is a mild form of gum disease that can be easily reversed with brushing and daily FLOSSING.

When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis, commonly called gum disease. The gums begin to pull away from the teeth and form pockets. Maybe you have heard your dentist or hygienist call out numbers when examining your teeth. They are measuring the depth of these pockets. The higher these numbers, the deeper the pockets and infection. Once the bacteria have set up house below the gum line, it is impossible to clean them out yourself.

These invasive bacteria act like termites that chew away the foundation of your house. It is like they are chewing away at the bone that holds your teeth in place. Left unhandled, your teeth will begin to shift and/or get loose. Additionally, research has proven that the infection caused by these bacteria can move into your blood stream and can contribute to stroke or heart disease. If you have diabetes, the infection resulting from gum disease makes it more difficult to control your blood sugar levels. Even pre-term babies or low birth weight babies have been linked to dental infections.

If you are not sure how to floss, ask your hygienist the next time you visit the dentist. She will be happy to help you improve your skills. Also, there are many flossing devices available at your local store that make it easier to clean those hard to reach areas. You can use these aids to floss when sitting and watching TV or while on break at work. The best way to prevent gum disease is to floss. So, make flossing a part of your daily routine if you want to enjoy improved health throughout your life.


Just in case you are interested, here’s the complete list of successful habits to live a longer life:

Don’t retire

Floss your teeth

Exercise regularly

Eat a fiber rich cereal for breakfast

Get at least six hours of sleep each night

Consume organic, whole foods, not supplements

Be less neurotic

Live like a 7th Day Adventist

Be a creature of habit

Stay connected to friends and family

Be conscientious, prudent, persistent and well organized.


Dr. Paul has been practicing dentistry since 1983. He has completed thousands of hours of continuing education. Visit for complete services offered. Clearwater Family Dental is located at 706 S. Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater, 727-442-3363. See ad page 21.