Why do you need to floss regularly? You already brush your teeth and visit the dentist’s office. Even though these are two of the top ways to keep your mouth healthy, you can still do more to protect your teeth and gums. Take a look at what you need to know about flossing, periodontal disease, and your dental health.
Why Is Gum Health Important?
If you’re not sure why flossing is important, start with the need-to-know gum basics. Your teeth aren’t the only part of your mouth that needs attention. Gum health is an essential part of your overall oral health. The gums serve as a protective barrier for the supporting structures of your teeth, including the bones. Healthy gums help to prevent dental issues such as infections and tooth loss, and they also contribute to better overall health.
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and includes symptoms such as redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums. It’s often from the accumulation of plaque and tartar. Proper dental care can reduce the buildup in your mouth and decrease the likelihood of gum disease.
According to the Mayo Clinic, diseases and conditions linked to poor oral health include cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, pregnancy complications, and endocarditis (an infection of the heart’s chambers or valves). The American Academy of Periodontology also notes that some research points to a possible connection between gum disease, the bacteria in the mouth, and the development or progression of respiratory diseases, some types of cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Why Is Flossing Essential for Gum Health?
Now that you know more about the significance of gum health, learn about why flossing is important and how it can help. A regular brushing routine isn’t enough on its own to reach every space in between your teeth and along the gumline. To remove plaque and food particles from these hard-to-reach areas, you need to floss.
By removing plaque and debris, flossing reduces the risk of gingivitis and periodontitis, both of which are caused by the bacteria in the mouth. This eliminates uncomfortable symptoms, such as sore gums, redness, and swelling. Not only are these symptoms irritating or painful, they can make it difficult to eat or speak clearly. Flossing also makes it less likely that you will develop cavities in between your teeth or suffer from gum disease–related tooth loss.
Along with maintaining a healthy mouth, flossing can also help your overall health. Again, gum health is known to impact other body systems and increase the risks of some types of conditions or diseases. Proper flossing may not eliminate the chances of developing cardiovascular, respiratory, or other diseases. But it can decrease the risks.
How Should You Floss?
Start with the best floss for your mouth. There are a variety of dental floss options available, including waxed, unwaxed, and tape floss. Flosses also come in flavors, such as mint or cinnamon. Choose one that fits your preference and feels comfortable in your mouth.
While you may need to put some pressure on the floss to fit in between tightly packed teeth, never forcefully push the floss onto the gumline. This can cut the gums and lead to an infection.
What If Flossing Isn’t Enough?
Maybe you haven’t had the best flossing technique or you forget to floss regularly. If you already have signs of gum disease, flossing may feel painful or make your gums more likely to bleed. But this doesn’t mean that you should stop flossing.
If you have signs of periodontal disease, make an appointment with your dentist. The dentist can examine your mouth, assess the gums, and recommend a treatment option. You may need an in-office procedure (such as root planing and scaling) to reduce the effects of gum disease. As your gums heal, continue to follow your dentist’s directions and floss regularly.
Do you need to schedule a dental appointment? Contact the Commack Hills Dental Group for more information.