Is flossing really that important for my oral hygiene? Should I do like the CDP shirt says and “floss like a boss”?
Why floss? Every time you visit your dentist or dental hygienist for a checkup or clean you’re almost certain to be asked “Have you been flossing daily?” Let’s face it, the truthful answer for a lot of people is no. Patients often think that flossing isn’t a big deal for our oral health although dentists and hygienists beg to differ. Patients can often master the routine of brushing twice daily and follow that recommendation yet fail to go the extra mile and floss once a day.
Although the toothbrush can clean the tops and outer surfaces of our teeth and gums, interproximal brushes e.g. Piksters and floss are used to clean the areas between the teeth (tight spaces and small gaps between the teeth) also the gaps where the teeth and gums meet. So, when you’re not flossing you’re failing to clean a total of 40% of the surface area of your teeth.
How do we floss? – see a Youtube video here for instructions.
Mouthwashes like Listerine, Colgate and Savacol can kill the bacteria and germs that form the plague build up, but they can’t physically remove the sticky white buildup up on the tooth surface known as plaque. This plaque leads to the buildup of tartar which attracts more bacteria to the area. Failing to regularly floss may also lead to decay and cavities forming between the teeth where the toothbrush is unable to remove the harmful bacteria from that area, only the use of floss and piksters can.
What happens when we neglect to floss?
Without the regular use of floss, plaque/tartar or calculus build up on the surfaces of the teeth where our gums meet, this leads to gingivitis. Gingivitis causes the gums to become inflamed and puffy, this leads to the gums becoming tender to touch and bleed very easily. Gingivitis is reversible by brushing thoroughly and getting into the habit of flossing daily. Combined with annual or twice yearly visits to your dental hygienist, we can actively maintain your gum health.
Periodontitis or Gum Disease
I would like to tell you about a more destructive gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis is severe inflammation of the tissue around the teeth, causing bone loss, recession and loosening of the teeth. This is the result of lack of appropriate oral hygiene, avoidance of regular scaling and professional maintenance, combined with genetic risk factors and other influences such as smoking and/or systemic diseases. If your Periodontitis is severe we may refer you to a trusted dental specialist known as a Periodontist.
Prevention is key!
It is highly recommended to visit your local dentists or oral hygienists regularly for checkups and active maintenance. Although the dentists and hygienist’s procedures and instruments are specifically designed to target these dental problems, good oral hygiene at home is also a cost-effective way to avoid more extensive dental treatment. If you ask any dentist or oral hygienist here at CDP you’re sure to be advised to use an electric or soft toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste for 2 minutes twice a day. Then use floss or interproximal brushes to clean between your teeth. Come and see a dental professional once or twice a year. It’s that simple.
By Tayla Atkin