You may have heard your dentist tell you to floors more often, but is it really necessary? And if so, why? Flossing regularly should be a major part of your dental hygiene routine. It is a universal need for everyone, and it does a lot to help you with your oral health.
Plaque and Flossing
As you use your teeth, food particles can stick to your teeth as well as getting in between them. When this happens, it starts to form plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that clings to the teeth and can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. It often builds up in between the teeth in areas that toothbrushes just can’t reach. Both gum disease and tooth decay are conditions that can be painful as well as lead to the loss of teeth. With plaque between the teeth as well as at the gumline, these are the areas that you need to floss regularly.
The American Dental Association recommends that everyone use dental floss to remove the plaque from the areas that are hard to get with a toothbrush. It can be tempting to forego flossing simply because you can’t see any plaque on your teeth. However, the plaque that you need to get rid of with floss is in areas that you can’t see.
Plaque is created on your teeth when the bacteria that is already in your mouth mixes with sugary and/or starchy foods. When you eat something sugary or starchy, the bacteria in your mouth will try to break down carbohydrates by releasing certain acids. If you aren’t brushing regularly, the mixture of the acids, the bacteria, and the carbohydrates all form plaque. The bacteria then starts to attack the enamel of your teeth. When you don’t floss, plaque is able to stay in between your teeth as well as at the gumline, and this can lead to tooth decay and cavities. A build-up of plaque at the gum line allows that plaque to get harder and to become tartar. With tartar, you have a higher risk of getting gum disease.
Flossing regularly can get rid of the food that gets stuck in your teeth so that it doesn’t sit on the teeth and turn into plaque. It can also get rid of the plaque that is already there. This can then prevent tooth decay and the cavities that it causes. The more plaque that is on your teeth, the more risk you have of getting a cavity.
Gum Disease and Other Health Problems
When plaque and tartar start to form on your teeth at the gumline, this can cause gingivitis. This is the first step in developing gum disease. Gingivitis causes your gums to become inflamed. If you are brushing or flossing and this causes bleeding, this is another sign that you have gingivitis. When this condition goes without treatment, it can eventually lead to periodontitis.
When you develop periodontitis, this is an infection that can be serious. This condition can make your gums pull away or recede from the teeth. This can mean losing some of the support of the bones so that teeth get loose. If periodontitis continues, it can lead to even worse effects. It can cause your entire body to have an inflammatory response to it.
When you don’t floss, you may develop other health problems as well. When people don’t floss, they have a higher risk of developing heart failure and atrial fibrillation. There has long been a link between flossing and better health. Your oral health can affect various systems and organs, and the link between oral health and overall health is still being strengthened through studies. If you don’t floss, it can actually lower your life expectancy. To keep your body healthier, make sure you floss often.
How Often Do You Have to Floss?
If you floss every once in a while, is that ok? No, flossing should be done regularly, every single day. It’s simple to learn how to floss well, and the cost of flossing is negligible. It’s a great way to help both your oral hygiene and your health in general. The American Dental Association recommends that everyone brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes and floss once a day or more. You can work your flossing into your morning oral hygiene routine or to the one at night.
It’s recommended that you floss before you brush. When you floss first, you are loosening particles of food from the teeth, and if you don’t brush afterward, they will stay on your teeth and in your mouth. Brushing works to remove the food particles as well as plaque from your teeth and gums. It’s important to floss at least once a day, though two or three times can help even more. Flossing after each meal is ideal, but as long as you floss every day, you can keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthier.
If you need oral surgery or a consultation for one, contact us at DFW Oral Surgeons.