When you brush your teeth, your toothbrush reaches about two thirds of the surfaces of your teeth. The one third that your brush doesn’t reach is located between your teeth. These areas are best cleaned using dental floss, so if you don’t floss you are not cleaning your teeth completely leaving areas for bacteria to grow. Your dentist encourages you to floss in an effort to control plaque to prevent decay and gum disease.
Daily flossing is important, but flossing correctly is needed too. There are many different tools available for flossing … regular floss, flavored or waxed, floss tape, floss picks, little brushes when larger gaps between teeth exist, and appliances that push water between teeth that can be substituted for floss.
When flossing, make sure you are contacting the surfaces of both teeth you are flossing in between. Gum tissue should be massaged gently to stimulate gums, and to remove food and debris that has settled at the base of the tooth. When performed correctly, gums should not bleed when flossing.
And even with the most diligent daily oral care, most patients will develop some plaque build-up over time that can only be removed by your dental provider. That is why it is so important to see your dentist every six months for cleaning and exam. If plaque is left on teeth it attracts more bacteria allowing plaque to grow. The acids from plaque can eventually permeate dental enamel leading to dental decay.
Gum disease is another serious problem associated with plaque on your teeth. Early symptoms to indicate the onset of gingivitis include bleeding gums, red or swollen gum tissue, chronic bad breath, teeth appearing to be pulling away from gums, or loose teeth. Pain is not always associated with a periodontal condition … once you are in discomfort, you may already be dealing with an advanced case of gum disease.
While you are advised to brush your teeth a minimum of twice every day with a fluoridated toothpaste, flossing can be completed once daily. Flossing after you’re done eating and drinking for the day is an effective tool to help control plaque growth.
See your dentist every six months or as directed by your dental provider. Brush, floss, and follow your dentist’s advice to protect your teeth so they will look great and function for your lifetime. Contact our office at Aesthetic Dental Partners today to schedule your next visit.