August 21, 2016
You’ve probably seen the headlines proclaiming that you don’t need to floss.
You may have read some of the stories, too.
But in spite of what you read, flossing is still a good idea, especially if you want to fight gum disease and cavities.
The news reports did raise some valid questions about the kinds of studies that have been done about the efficacy of flossing, but if you read closely, you would have seen that the research also does not dispute that flossing can be beneficial.
We would much rather you continue flossing than to have you come to our dentist office in Norton Shores, MI, seeking periodontal treatment.
Nevertheless, our team at Community Shores Dental will be here to help if you should develop gum disease.
Cleaning Your Mouth
The American Dental Association still recommends both brushing and flossing on a daily basis. The reason is the ADA wants every to remove as many bacteria and plaque as they can from their mouths every day.
The bacteria that cause both tooth decay and gum disease live inside your mouth. They multiply on a daily basis. If you don’t remove them routinely, then you are increasing your risk of developing cavities and periodontal disease.
The ADA continues to recommend brushing twice per day and flossing once daily.
When you brush, you should use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. You should scrub your teeth for two minutes at a time, and you should be sure that you are scrubbing your teeth on all sides.
Why Flossing Still Matters
This is a great start, but your toothbrush can’t clean the spaces between your teeth or the space below your gumline. Food particles can get stuck in those areas, and bacteria can use the sugars in those particles to form plaque.
This is the stage when you gums can appear red or swollen. You may even bleed while you are flossing or brushing. These are symptoms of gingivitis.
This is worth mentioning because some recent news accounts described gingivitis as something other than gum disease. According to the American Academy of Periodontology (a professional organization for dentists who are specialists in gum health), gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease.
This also is the time when flossing can particularly beneficial. Flossing can reduce the inflammation that occurs at this stage, and when done routinely, you should notice that your bleeding becomes less common and stops.
If you don’t see a difference as a result of flossing, then you may have an advanced form of gum disease called periodontitis.
Flossing more isn’t going to stop periodontitis. At this point, you need professional help, which you can get at Community Shores Dental.
We offer non-surgical periodontal treatment to remove the infection from your gums as well as the bacteria, plaque, and tartar that are contributing to this problem.
Dental Floss And Some Alternatives
Having dental floss isn’t enough. You have to use it correctly to get the full benefits.
It’s worth keeping a few statistics in mind. A recent ADA survey found that only 40 percent of people said that they flossed daily. That means 6 in 10 people do not floss daily.
Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but the Centers for Disease Control recently concluded its own study in which they reported that nearly half of American adults 30 and older have some form of periodontitis.
When you floss, it’s important to do a few things. First, don’t be too aggressive. Forcefully pressing the floss into your gum tissue can cause damage. Brushing too hard can cause similar problems.
Gently “hug” the floss around the sides of your teeth and below your gumline. This is enough to dislodge food particles from your teeth.
Dental floss is the most common interdental cleaner, but it isn’t your only option.
You also can try using:
- Flossers — You can find this in the toothpaste aisle of many stores. These have short handles and a piece of floss between a U-shaped opening on one end. You may find this a more comfortable way to reaching the teeth in the back of your mouth.
- Water flossers — Instead of thread, these use a stream of water to get into the spaces that your toothbrush can’t reach.
Please Take Care Of Your Gums
We hope you will visit our dentist office in Norton Shores, MI, a couple times each year for routine cleanings and checkups. We also hope we don’t see any signs of gum disease.
In the meantime, we want to encourage you to continue cleaning both the surface and the spaces between your teeth.