If you were told to brush only your lower teeth, you would find that preposterous. What good is only cleaning a portion of your teeth! So if you don’t floss, you are actually only cleaning about two thirds of the surfaces of your teeth. Dental floss reaches between teeth, particularly around the gum line, to remove what your toothbrush couldn’t get to. Your dentist can explain exactly what can happen if you ignore flossing every day.
Cavities form when a breach in dental enamel allows bacteria to penetrate the tooth and eat away at the tooth to form a hole (cavity). Of course, a cavity doesn’t occur overnight. But if you fail to visit your dentist regularly, dental decay can escalate.
Problems that can accompany decay include the need for root canal therapy, a dental crown, or even the loss of the tooth. With regular dental office visits, a small cavity can be repaired that might help prevent these maladies.
You may hear words like gingivitis or periodontitis if you are diagnosed with gum disease. Flossing is a preventive action that helps to control plaque buildup and promotes healthier gum tissue by invigorating gingiva.
Some of the early signs of gum disease include bleeding gums, chronic bad breath, and receding gum tissue. If caught early, gingivitis is very treatable. If allowed to continue without intervention, gum disease can even lead to tooth loss. That is because oral bacteria are attacking the bones that hold your teeth in place.
Prevention is the key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. The best ways to promote great oral health include:
Brushing – twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste using a soft bristle toothbrush.
Flossing – daily … there are multiple dental floss products available making it easy to find the one that works best for you.
Diet – Limit snacks and sugary foods to special occasions. Try to maintain a daily diet of fruits, vegetables (crunchy ones actually help to keep teeth clean), dairy, protein based foods, and healthy grains.
Drink water – not soda or sugary beverages.
Finally, visit our dentist twice yearly (or as prescribed) for cleaning and dental exam.