When People Don’t Floss, It’s Their Loss
Every day people are inundated with ways to become healthier. They may be told to put
on sunscreen before they go outdoors. Or they may be advised to give up the things they love
like sweets, alcohol, or smoking. Others might try to spend thirty minutes a day running on a
treadmill. On the other hand, some people are too busy to focus on their health or may feel
constrained by many health guidelines. However, there is one simple activity that only takes two
minutes out of each day and according to Tomas Perls, M.D., who created a formula to calculate
how long a person can live based on habits, can help extend a person’s life by four years
(McCafferty, 2007). This practice, flossing, is necessary because it affects most Americans, is
beneficial to the health because it prevents many diseases, and easy to commit to habit.
Flossing is necessary because there are a great number people who have oral afflictions
that can be prevented with flossing. Patrick Perry (2007) interviewed the periodontist, Dr.
Thomas Rams, in the article, “Taking the bite out of gum disease,” for the Saturday Evening
Post. Dr. Rams reported that nearly 80 % of American adults suffer from some form of
periodontal disease (para. 2). To put that into perspective, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that
the United States population is over 300 million people. This indicates that over 240 million
Americans have some form of periodontal disease (2008).
To explain, Janet Torpy, MD, and Alison Burke (2008), authors of “Periodontal disease”
wrote that periodontal disease is a general term that refers to a disease of the gums and teeth that
can be prevented with brushing and flossing. Brushing and flossing removes bacteria and the
plaque that hardens into tartar that cause the disease. Gingivitis is the disease of the gums, while
periodontitis is a periodontal disease that causes unhealthy gums and the loss of teeth (Thorpy
and Burke, 2008). In fact, periodontal disease is the leading cause of teeth loss, according to
Biesbrock and colleagues (2006). There is obviously a great need for people to take up flossing