Do you floss your teeth every day? If not, do you floss them once a week? Many people neglect flossing altogether, opting instead to clean their teeth with a toothbrush alone. Unfortunately, a toothbrush by itself is not as effective as it is when it is used in conjunction with dental floss. To learn more about the vital role flossing can play in your oral health, read the explanation below.
The Threat of Bacteria
Harmful bacteria can wreak havoc in the mouth. They may adhere to teeth by forming plaque or tartar, allowing them to attack teeth and cause cavities and even infections. In addition, bacteria may make their way beneath the gums, where they can do just as much, if not more, damage. Initially, bacteria may cause an inflammation of the gums (gingivitis). However, gingivitis has a very unsavory habit of sticking around, and sometimes it can develop into periodontitis, a more damaging form of gum disease. Gingivitis tends to linger because the bacteria responsible for the disease trigger the body’s production of anti-inflammatory molecule known as IL-10. These molecules then interfere with the body’s bacteria-fighting T-cells, leaving gingivitis free to linger and progress.
When periodontitis develops, the mouth is in even greater peril. Periodontitis attacks vital structures which support teeth. As these ligaments and tissues decay, teeth may loosen, shift, and fall out entirely. In addition, gum disease increases the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, making its threat one that reaches beyond the scope of the mouth.
The Benefits of Flossing
Flossing is very beneficial to the mouth because it aids in bacteria removal in places that a toothbrush is unable to reach. If you neglect flossing, bacteria may hide out in these crevices, causing damage to teeth and threatening the gums. If you choose to floss, however, you can remove these bacteria and improve your oral health.
A Few Flossing Reminders
· Use about 18 inches of dental floss. It is important to use enough floss to allow yourself to work with clean sections of the floss continually as you make your way through your mouth. Otherwise, you may simply relocate rather than remove bacteria.
· Gently glide the floss between your teeth. It is important that you use gentle pressure to glide the floss between your teeth and against edges of each tooth. Forcing the floss can be very painful and can cause damage to your gums.
· Hold the floss between your thumbs and index fingers. The proper grip allows you to maneuver the floss with more precision so that you can clean your teeth effectively.
Visit Your Williamsburg Dentist
By brushing and flossing daily, you can do your part to ensure that your mouth remains healthy. However, it is still important to attend regular dental visits, during which a professional can examine your teeth. If you are due for a dental cleaning, contact our Williamsburg dental office today at 757-645-4055 to schedule an appointment.