We know you are tempted to end your dental hygiene routine with brushing and rinsing. However, failing to pick up your floss can cause more detriment than you think. If you are like most people, you have tight spaces in between your teeth, including areas too small for the bristles of your toothbrush to reach. These areas of your teeth are just as susceptible to plaque and bacteria as the visible larger surfaces. In fact, up to 35% of your tooth surface needs to be cleaned with floss instead of your toothbrush. When the sticky film of plaque builds up between your teeth or along your gum line, the consequences can be significant.
Gum disease is perhaps the most serious drawback to not flossing. When bacteria laden plaque accumulates, the gums can become inflamed and infected. Untreated gum disease can cause minor symptoms such as bleeding gums and bad breath, but it can also lead to serious threats to you smile and overall health. Gum disease is not only the leading cause of tooth loss, but it has also been linked to heart disease and stroke.
New York University College of Dentistry conducted a research study that confirms the importance of flossing. Researchers followed 51 well-matched twin pairs. They assessed their treatment responses to flossing over a two-week period, with one twin flossing and the other twin not flossing. After the two-week period, periodontal pathogens and decay-causing bacteria were “overabundant” in the group that did not floss. This study also revealed a notable decrease in gingival bleeding in the twins that flossed.
Many patients avoid or dread their routine dental cleanings because they hate the sound or feeling of having their teeth scraped or the gum bleeding that results. However, flossing on a daily basis can eliminate this unpleasant experience and your dental checkups can be more enjoyable and faster. Flossing is a simple step that can save you money, prolong your smile and protect your overall health. There are countless options when it comes to floss. Choose from different flavors, waxed or unwaxed varieties or invest in a water flosser for a more high-tech experience. Whatever helps you get the job done is the right floss for you! At Park South Dentistry, we do our best to educate patients on the importance of flossing. If gum disease has set in, we offer a variety of periodontal treatments to restore your gum health.