Benefits to Regular Flossing
Few Americans grow up learning how to properly brush and floss their teeth because it isn’t generally appreciated how important these daily practices are to overall health. Most people think it’s just about avoiding cavities, which is the second most common disease (next to the even more common cold). Yes, the cost and pain of cavities aka dental caries is the leading reason to keep your mouth healthy.
Aside from preventing cavities, brushing and flossing correctly can stop the progression of periodontal disease, an infection of the gums that can lead to teeth falling out or needing to be extracted. Untreated, the infected gums will start to pull away their support for teeth, which will fall out or need to be extracted. Unless a bridge or dental implant is placed right away, other nearby teeth will naturally lean towards the gap, causing misalignment and other teeth becoming loose.
Even worse, few know that periodontal bacteria can enter the bloodstream and as we age, significantly raise the risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s.
So brushing for two full minutes after breakfast and dinner and flossing before bedtime are a vital part of staying healthy all your life and prevent emergency gum treatment. Brushing should be done with a soft bristle brush held at a 45° degree, stroking from the gum line to the end of the tooth.
Flossing might seem to be a little simpler: you just insert the thread between teeth and pull, right? But if many don’t really have the technique for brushing down right, fewer are aware that flossing is often done ineffectively. Why? The thread needs to be held firmly against each side of every tooth, starting at the gum line and scraping towards the top to be sure all food particles are removed.
Done too quickly and without care, they can remain and start to attract bacteria, which turn into a sticky film called plaque and then harden into a form known as tartar, which has to be taken off with special tools by a dental hygienist. Either form will eat away at the hard enamel surface of the tooth and cause the beginnings of periodontal disease.
Finally, brushing and flossing daily and correctly will avoid having bad breath, since periodontal bacteria are one of its major causes.
If you are uncertain that you have mastered your brushing and flossing techniques, ask your dental hygienist to show you the next time you come into Parthenia Family Dental for a cleaning.