Everyone knows that you’re supposed to floss your teeth daily, but few of us actually do. Instead, we feel guilty at our semi-annual dental visit when the hygienist scolds us for allowing gum disease causing plaque to grow between our teeth. We pledge to floss more often, and do over the next week or so before losing the motivation to keep it up. If motivation is what you’re lacking, maybe Lisa Zamosky’s msnbc.com story, “Forget Botox. Floss your teeth,” will give you some. Experts are now saying that flossing may fight the effects of aging better than plastic surgery.
Dr. Eugene Antenucci, a dentist in Huntington, NY, and spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry, describes what happens when you don’t floss. Without flossing, 40% of the surfaces of your teeth remain covered in bacteria. This bacterium is what causes staining and yellowing around your tooth, and can ultimately lead to gingivitis, the first sign of gum disease. As a result, you may experience inflammation, bleeding, and sore gum tissue that can eventually lead to gum recession and even bone loss.
The appearance of your face can change with bone loss, explains Dr. Donald S. Clem, president-elect of the American Academy of Periodontology Foundation. “Once a tooth is lost the bone has no reason to be there,” states Clem. And without the bone, you can develop wrinkles around the lips and cheeks, and experience caving in of the same areas. Visiting your cosmetic dentist may help, but plastic surgery cannot repair this disfigurement, as shown in a recent study published in the journal of Plastic Reconstructive Surgery. Flossing can’t give you the immediate results that Botox will, but in the long run, it can definitely keep your face looking younger and more beautiful.