“Do you floss regularly?” This common question that a dental care provider asks at the start of the appointment can cause many people anxiety and a hesitation to answer truthfully. Sometimes patients are so worried before their visit that they can overdo it with flossing and brushing too hard, causing gum irritation and bleeding. Many don’t realize the importance of flossing on a regular basis.
WHY IS A HEALTHY MOUTH SO IMPORTANT?
A healthy mouth plays an important part in your overall health. As food gets stuck between your teeth, bacteria can form, which contributes to periodontal or gum disease. Recent studies suggest periodontal disease contributes to heart disease and stroke. Healthy gums should be firm and light pink in color. In the early stages of gum disease, you may experience redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums, referred to as gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to gum disease, tissue damage, and eventually bone and teeth loss.
Fortunately, there are treatment options, depending on the type and severity of the gum disease. If it is determined by your dentist that periodontal disease is present, a more thorough cleaning and scaling may be done to remove the plaque and tartar on your teeth that exists below the gum line. A topical anesthetic will be used to keep you more comfortable during the procedure, which may be split up into two visits. After the scaling and root planing procedure, a good homecare routine will help your gums to regain a firm, healthy appearance.
HOW TO PREVENT GUM DISEASE?
One of the best ways to avoid suffering from periodontal disease is proper oral hygiene habits at home. Unlike brushing and mouth rinses which help to remove bacteria and plaque from the surface of the teeth and around your mouth, flossing helps to clean between your teeth and under the surface where the gums meet the teeth. The proper technique ensures that you are getting debris from the places your toothbrush can’t reach. Brushing and flossing twice daily is key to keeping gum disease at bay.
PROPER FLOSSING TECHNIQUE
Dental floss is coated with a wax or Teflon coating to make it easier to slide between the teeth. Start by taking a length of floss between 18-24 inches. Wrapping the floss around your middle fingers, carefully slide the floss between your teeth. Don’t be too forceful, as you may damage your teeth and gums. Once you have the floss in place, wrap in a c-shape around the surface of the tooth and slide up and down. This allows the floss to enter the space between the gum and tooth. Repeat around each tooth using a clean section of floss. There are various products on the market to aid you in becoming a better flosser.
The bottom line: Flossing does not have to be a dreaded part of your oral hygiene routine. Once you get in the habit, the process will become much easier. When you come in for your next cleaning at our dental office in Souderton or Harleysville, don’t hesitate to ask one of our dental hygienists to demonstrate proper flossing techniques.
Weaver, Reckner, and Reinhart Dental Associates is one of the leading family dentists in the Montgomery and Bucks County areas. Our services cover a range of procedures from cosmetic dentistry to dental implants in both our Harleysville office and Souderton location. You can learn more about our practice and services by browsing our website or contact us at 215-486-1649/215-486-1652.