Here’s a riddle for you: What takes less than 2 minutes and could make you look better, feel better, smell better and even make babies happier? It’s that thing 60% of you hardly ever do. Floss your teeth!
According to a survey by the American Dental Association, only 4 out of 10 Americans floss at least once a day. Meanwhile, 20% never floss. Here’s our list of the top five reasons we hope you start flossing regularly.
1. Bad breath
There are a number of reasons you get bad breath. And there are a number of things you probably do to mask it or prevent it. However, did you know that sometimes the bad odor is not coming up from your belly? It may be sneaking out between your gums and your teeth.
When we eat, food particles don’t just stick neatly to our teeth where they can get rinsed and brushed off. Those food particles also dive down into our gums. When they remain there for a certain amount of time, they do what all non-refrigerated food begins to do: decay and stink.
So, get one step ahead of it all and floss regularly—at least once a day.
2. Baby’s breath?
Sometimes we know something is good for us and we just don’t get around to doing it anyway? Multivitamin anyone? Crossfit class? Anyone? ….
Well, if you can’t get yourself to floss regularly for yourself, perhaps you can motivate yourself to floss for someone else. Not their actual mouth, that’s weird! We’re talking about flossing your own teeth because it can keep your unborn baby healthy. A study by the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine revealed that the bacteria that cause inflammation in the gums can actually get into the bloodstream and target the fetus. This unfortunate reality leads to a number of premature births and low-birth-weight babies.
Sorry, expecting moms. We’re not trying to put any extra burdens on you during an already physically demanding time. But, this would be an excellent time for expecting dad to unload the dishwasher or some other 2-minute task that helps you find the 2 minutes you need to up the odds of having full-term pregnancy and full-weight baby.
3. There won’t be blood
One common excuse people—especially kids—don’t floss is because it makes their gums bleed. Ironically, their gums are bleeding because they don’t floss. It’s true, after some time off from flossing, your gums will bleed significantly the first time or two. Typically, by the third or fourth regularly scheduled flossing, they’ll stop. The result is a healthier set of gum lines that have less pocket space for taking in those food particles you’ll inevitably encounter.
When you floss for the first time in a long while and things start to get a little bloody, take a whiff. That weird smell? Yeah, that’s your bad breath we were trying to help you get rid of in point number one. Sorry if that’s a little gross, but it’s true, and still not as gross as trying to floss someone else’s mouth the way you were thinking in point number two.
4. There won’t be pain
The avoidance of pain is the single-most powerful motivator for all sentient beings. With that in mind, allow us to tell you about the one thing in the dental world that’s more painful than getting a cavity: getting a cavity in between two teeth.
Yeah, it hurts. And take one guess what the single-most effective prevention method is. Yeah, flossing. A tooth has five surface areas that need cleaning. When you skip out on flossing, you skip out on two of those surfaces.
When you’re about to hit the sack without having flossed your teeth, think about getting hit in the mouth with a sack of bricks. OK, we may be overstating the pain factor, but whatever it takes to get yourself to spend the two minutes flossing is totally worth it if you don’t like pain.
5. Midnight snacks
We understand we’re supposed to tell you that one of the top five reasons to floss is because it reduces the risk of major problems like heart and respiratory disease, diabetes, stroke and arthritis. But you probably read that already and you’re still not flossing regularly. So let’s talk about tasty flavors.
Bacon! Cupcake! Pumpkin spice! These are just three of the 11 strangest dental floss flavors available for flossing challenged kids and adults. We suggest reading any of the ingredients before purchasing, and we recommend a thorough rinsing with water after using them. But how can you not at least try ranch dressing floss or banana.
There’s a Justin Bieber flavor, too. Apparently saturated music and teen angst has a taste. That’s grosser than trying to floss a stranger’s mouth. Stop being gross! Floss instead.