Going to the dentist means hearing the same question once again, “Do you floss regularly?” Dentists understand the importance of flossing every day, but unfortunately most of the patients do not. According to a national survey, only 49% of Americans floss their teeth regularly, and 10% say they never floss. Flossing is one of the most difficult personal habits to get people to do, yet it is also one of the most effective methods of preventing disease – within and outside of the mouth.
Many people simply do not understand the importance of flossing. They naively believe that brushing their teeth is enough to keep their mouths healthy, but it simply isn’t. Brushing is important, but it’s not the most important. In fact, if you were going to choose between brushing and flossing, choose flossing.
Flossing reaches between the teeth where brushing can not reach. The bacteria that builds up between the teeth is way more damaging than the plaque and bacteria that forms on the front and back of the teeth. Saliva, the tongue, and eating fibrous foods (such as apples, carrots, etc.) take care of removing most of the plaque that is on the front and back of the teeth. But nothing can take the place of flossing – is it the only effective method of reaching and cleaning between the teeth. It is the bacteria between the teeth that causes tooth decay. The bacteria between the teeth causes gum disease. And many health conditions such as diabetes, heart problems, and certain cancers can be linked back directly to a person’s periodontal disease. The gums are a living tissue, and any infection in the gums passes straight through to the rest of the body.
So if you want to know if you really need to floss every day, the answer is Yes, you should. By flossing, you are not only taking proper care of your oral health, but you are promoting optimal health for the rest of your body as well.
Posted on behalf of Group Health Dental
“I don’t floss, because when I do it makes my gums bleed.” That’s something that literally every dentist and hygienist has heard from a patient at one point or another. Flossing around areas of gingivitis or periodontal disease can be uncomfortable and cause bleeding every time when flossing is sporadic. The truth is, if you floss the right way, you can almost always get areas of bleeding to stop.
Cleaning under the gumlines and between the teeth is something that needs to be done everyday. Otherwise, brushing skips over these areas and bacteria remain present in your mouth. Sporadic flossing removes this debris, but causes the infected area to freely bleed, as inflammation and infection are already present.
Wrap your floss tightly around the tooth and slide under the gums several times, then move on to the next tooth. Use a clean portion of the floss for each area, to prevent spread of bacteria. Do this at least once every day, whether or not the gums bleed or are sore. Any area of infection will be sore until the infection goes away. For most people, gingivitis and bleeding will completely reverse itself if flossing is present for 10-14 days in a row. Continuing to floss will prevent the infection from returning.
There will always be some exceptions. Some patients have problem areas around crooked teeth or dental restorations that bleed every time they’re flossed around, even if they floss daily. The important part is to keep on flossing…otherwise the bacteria that cause the bleeding can progress into more severe infections. Keep at it, and with regular cleanings you can keep these areas localized and prevent them from spreading to other parts of the mouth.
Posted on behalf of Dr. David Janash, Park South Dentistry
After having your periodontal disease treated, it’s important to have therapeutic maintenance visits on a regular basis to prevent the disease from recurring.
Because gum disease causes deep pockets under the gums and irreversible gum disease, it’s important to have a professional cleaning every 3-4 months until there are no more visible signs of advancing gum disease. For some people, staying on a tight maintenance schedule for several years is what they need to maintain optimal oral health. People with healthy teeth and gums with no signs of previous gum disease typically only require cleanings every 6 months.
Unfortunately, many patients with severe gum disease will undergo periodontal therapy and then not return for maintenance cleanings because they think the condition has been cured. While superficial symptoms may have been eliminated, the area will require frequent professional maintenance to remove bacterial deposits that are too deep for flossing or brushing to disrupt.
You can protect the health and longevity of your smile by having a periodontal maintenance visit with your dental provider. At these appointments any new buildup will gently be removed to prevent disease progression. The health of support structures including bone and pocket depths will be assessed in order to monitor the situation. Your visit will be similar to a typical cleaning visit, with gentle scaling and polishing to remove soft deposits and stain.
If you’ve previously had gum disease treatment, ask your dentist or hygienist about how often periodontal maintenance visits are needed. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, and a dedicated care plan is the best way to ensure the health, appearance and life span of your smile.
Posted on behalf of Park South Dentistry
Gum recession is the condition where the levels of gum tissue slowly work their way down the tooth, exposing the root. Several factors can cause gum recession, including:
When the root is exposed, it allows the next layer of tooth called the dentin to be exposed to external stimulates that it isn’t supposed to be. Normally this porous structure is protected by the gums and guarded from things that otherwise cause sensitivity or damage to the tooth.
You may notice areas of recession by:
When gum recession is severe, treating the area with surgical gum grafting can be very effective at saving the tooth or eliminating the sensitivity associated with that area. Grafting uses donor tissue from another part of your mouth, or from a tissue bank to place a new layer of gingival tissue over the tooth. In some cases there is not even a need for suturing. When cared for properly, these areas heal well, resulting in stability and decreased sensitivity of receded areas.
If left untreated, areas of severe recession can cause decay, mobility and loss of the affected tooth. Gum recession should be monitored very carefully, and factors such as gum disease (periodontal disease) or smoking should be eliminated to increase the success of grafting treatments. Also remember that using only soft bristled toothbrushes is an essential part of preventing gum recession and enamel abrasion. It may not feel as though you’re scrubbing hard enough to get the teeth clean, but gentle plaque removal is the best way to protect your teeth for a lifetime.
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