Does Flossing Teeth Really Make a Difference?
While it is certain that daily brushing your teeth is valuable to help protect them, regular daily flossing teeth is just as important. The benefits of flossing add to what your toothbrush does because it lets you reach into areas that your toothbrush cannot touch.
The Importance of Flossing
Flossing is important because it enables you to remove particles from between your teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach. This helps prevent bacteria from building up between your teeth and damaging them and your gums.
The bacteria that need to be removed will grow in the presence of food and sugars between your teeth. It becomes plaque every day, but it is brushed off with a toothbrush when you brush your teeth. This does not happen between your teeth, though, which is why flossing is necessary.
Although there was some debate recently about the value of flossing, the American Dental Association, the Surgeon General, THE CDC, and other health groups still say it is important. Not only does it help your teeth to continue to look clean, but it also helps you to avoid gum disease.
Gum disease often starts when proper care is not given to the teeth – you are not flossing. Food particles collect between the teeth and the bacteria hides in it. This enables them to multiply, and when they do, they produce acid. The acid begins to erode the enamel on your teeth and it also begins to work on your gums. This leads to gingivitis.
When you have gingivitis, your gums will bleed when you brush your teeth or floss. They may also appear red and inflamed. Healthy gums do not bleed. At this early stage, if you brush your teeth twice a day and floss everyday, you can usually get rid of gingivitis.
If you let the gingivitis go, and do not start taking better care of your teeth, periodontitis is the next step. At this stage, pockets will begin to form on your gums at the gum line. The pockets are where the bad bacteria in your mouth are forming colonies – and producing more acid. Soon, you will see pus oozing out of the pockets at the gum line.
The acid now will slowly begin to do some serious damage. It starts destroying the gums, the structures that hold your teeth in place, and the jaw bone. After a while, your teeth will start to become loose, and some may even fall out.
Once the pockets have formed, it is out of your hands. A toothbrush or floss will not reach into the pockets, so dental care becomes necessary. Only a dentist can help you now.
Treatment for periodontitis depends on how serious it has become. There are four phases of this gum disease and treatments involve both non-surgical and surgical methods. While medications may help treat it in the early stages, further development may require gum and bone grafts, and tooth replacement – all of which can be very expensive.
Avoiding Gum Disease
The best way to prevent and to stop gum disease, if you do not already have it, is to brush and floss your teeth every day. Some people have a genetic tendency toward gum disease, but regular dental care will help prolong its development, but may not ultimately stop it.
Periodontitis develops slowly in most people. While it continues to be the primary cause of tooth loss in the United States, it does not have to affect you. The primary cause is a lack of consistent brushing and flossing, says the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Best Time to Floss
Bacteria are always growing in your mouth. Because of this, it is best to floss at night before you go to bed because it will remove the bacteria from your teeth before you sleep. This way, you do not let the acid continue to destroy the enamel for the eight or so hours while you sleep.
More Tips to Reduce Gum Disease
Taking care of your teeth involves more than just brushing and flossing, although those things may be the most important. Other things include cutting down on sugary drinks and foods. The bad bacteria in your mouth feeds on sugar, which makes it even more important to rinse your mouth out with water after consuming sugary foods, and brushing and flossing.
Avoiding tobacco of any kind is also important, and cutting down on alcohol will help as well. Seeing your dentist regularly will also help protect your teeth because a dentist can see spots you have missed, as well as treat any cavities that may be developing before they become significant problems.
Flossing your teeth regularly is part of good oral health care. If you live in the Farmers Branch TX areas, Champion Dental clinic expert Periodontists can help you maintain healthy teeth, or treat gum disease when needed. To make an appointment for a consultation, call our office today at (214) 747-0763.