You go in for your yearly cleaning and the dreaded question of, “How often are you flossing?” comes up. At this point you remember that you forgot to floss for most of the last six months to a year. While it may not seem like a big deal, flossing is one of the most overlooked, yet important parts of the oral hygiene regimen at home. While most patients complain and insist that it is a tedious process, flossing is extremely important in the maintenance and health of your teeth.
Why should I be flossing?
When you brush your teeth twice a day, you should floss too. Flossing gets in areas you’re your toothbrush can’t reach, which is especially important as the places in between your teeth and gaps along the gum line are exceptionally vulnerable to dental issues and flare ups. This is because food particles can get lodged in between the gaps and a toothbrush alone cannot remove them. Also, these areas are prone to the buildup of plaque which can cause discoloration and staining on your teeth as well cavities.
What if I forget to floss? Here are some of the detrimental side effects:
If you forget to floss, cavities can start to form in between your teeth in the sensitive areas where your brush cannot reach. Cavities, or tooth decay, can also cause an increase in sensitivity to hot and cold as well as to sweets.
Tartar is a buildup of plaque that has been left undisturbed for a period of time. Plaque is sticky and soft but once left untreated by regular flossing it becomes hard. Letting it get to that point is dangerous, as one plaque becomes hard it must be removed by a dentist during a routine cleaning or exam.
A dull smile
Flossing regularly keeps your teeth looking pearly white and shiny. With plaque buildup on the teeth, food and drinks stick and staining occurs. By flossing you can remove the stubborn spots and food particles.
Periodontal disease and gingivitis
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. It is a very common condition that results from poor oral hygiene.
Gingivitis can cause symptoms such as:
- Tender gums
- Swollen or soft gums
- Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing
- Red gums
- Bad breath
Periodontal disease is the advanced stages of gingivitis. The gums pull away or recede from the teeth and the spaces that form can become infected. Without treatment the teeth may eventually become loose and then have to be removed.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Formation of pockets
- Change in bite
- Loose or shifting teeth
Bacteria can cause a host of issues, and is the leading cause of many of the issues listed above, Getting rid of bacteria is one of the most important steps to keeping your teeth healthy.
Keeping your teeth clean is important to not only a beautiful, confident and radiant smile but helps to maintain your overall health; and flossing is a key tool in this.