How often do you floss? For years, dentists have been advising patients to floss once a day, but according to one study by the CDC, about 37% of adults over age 30 floss less than daily, and about 32% never floss at all. You may not think it’s a problem as long as you continue brushing, but consider this: by not flossing, you could be at higher risk for painful gum disease. Your family dentist in Frisco, CO can advise you on how taking the time to floss can help protect your gums—and your health.
Why are Healthy Gums Important?
When bacteria-filled plaque builds up around the gum lines, it can lead to gum disease. This disease starts as gingivitis, causing the gums to become inflamed and prone to bleeding; if it’s not dealt with in the early stages, it can develop into periodontitis, a serious infection that can damage your bones and teeth. In other words, if you don’t take care of your gums, not only will it be painful, but it could result in tooth loss if not treated.
How Can Flossing Help Protect My Gums?
Food particles stick to your teeth, leading to plaque buildup. While good brushing habits are an important part of keeping your mouth clean, your toothbrush can’t effectively reach inside the gaps between your teeth. Food can get trapped in these spaces, particularly near the gum line, which can eventually lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
By flossing, you can clean the hard-to-reach spaces in your mouth. When combined with brushing and regular dental visits, it helps put you at a much lower risk for gingivitis and more advanced forms of gum disease.
What if I’m Having Trouble Flossing?
Some patients may have limited dexterity or certain types of dental restorations that make traditional flossing more difficult. Fortunately, there are other flossing methods with the same benefits:
• Floss picks are small pieces of plastic with a bit of floss at the end; many find them easier to use than regular dental floss, as they can reach the back of the mouth without difficulty.
• Water flossers such as Waterpik direct a stream of water between your teeth, massaging your gums and pushing out any food particles; it’s a good option for people who just don’t like how dental floss feels.
• Interdental brushes have thin, bristled heads that squeeze between your teeth; like floss picks, they can be easier to use.
If you’re not sure whether traditional flossing or an alternative would be best for you, talk with your dentist in Frisco about your options. Remember, healthy gums are important for a healthy mouth, and that could have an impact on the rest of your body as well. Don’t take any chances when it comes to gum disease.
About the Author
Dr. Brett Amedro has advanced training in dental implants, oral surgery, periodontal (gum) treatment, and root canal therapy. He received an award for excellence in dental implants from the University of Michigan. He makes a point of incorporating the most up-to-date dental technologies in his practice, and last year he completed almost twice as many educational hours as required by the Colorado Dental Association! To learn more about his practice, Ten Mile Dental, visit his website or call (970) 668-1010.