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National Flossing Day: Link Between Regular Flossing & Effective Gum Disease Treatment

Celebrated on the fourth Friday in November, National Flossing Day is our annual reminder to take good care of our teeth and gums. Regular brushing and flossing and annual teeth cleanings go a long way toward gum disease prevention. Daily flossing doesn’t just keep your oral health intact, but it can also affect your overall health.

Read on to learn more about the importance of flossing, and how it prevents the need for gum disease treatment.

Why Is It Important To Floss Regularly?

Unhealthy gums can increase the risk of tooth loss and the need for extensive procedures like root canal therapy. It can lead to the onset of gum disease, which can advance quickly without treatment. While brushing at least twice a day is important, brushing alone cannot prevent gum disease.

For people who suffer from bleeding or sensitive gums, you may think that you should avoid flossing altogether. Wrong! Not flossing allows built-up plaque and tartar to accumulate, which can lead to gingivitis and more advanced gum disease stages, which can deteriorate the jawbone and cause you to lose your teeth.

When’s The Best Time To Floss Your Teeth?

There is no real answer to this, as the most important thing about flossing is that you do it. Pick a time that is convenient for you. If you have children, they need to floss, too. Start flossing their teeth as soon as they have two teeth that touch. Be gentle, as you could damage the tissue between the teeth. Demonstrating the importance of oral health helps establish a routine for them.

Should I Floss Before Or After Brushing?

Dental professionals generally recommend flossing before brushing your teeth. This is because it removes or loosens up food particles and other debris that is stuck between the teeth and beneath the gum line. This creates a clean surface for the toothbrush to reach when you are brushing.

Flossing before brushing also allows the fluoride in your toothpaste to penetrate these spaces better. This helps ensure easier access to hard-to-reach places, which are more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.

How To Floss Properly

Break off at least two feet of floss or use a floss pick. Hold the floss with the majority of the length around your two middle fingers. Leave about an inch or two of floss for your teeth to use.

Hold the floss tight with either your thumbs or your index fingers. Place the floss of the pick in between two teeth of your choosing. Glide it up and down gently while rubbing against the edges of each tooth. Never place the floss into your gums.

Curve the floss or flosser at the base of your tooth to form a C. This allows it to enter the space between both the gums and the tooth safely without irritation. Repeat for the entire mouth.

By brushing and flossing daily, you can ensure that you will not need advanced gum disease treatment in the future.

How To Floss With Braces

Start by breaking off about two feet of waxed dental floss. Thread the floss between the main wire and your teeth. Twist any loose ends of the floss around your fingers. Press the floss between two teeth and move the floss up and down along the edges of your teeth.

When you work on the top teeth, create an upside-down U with your floss so you can go up the side of one tooth until you get to the gumline. Next, glide the floss down the opposite tooth. Remove the floss and then unthread it from the wire.

Move on to the next two teeth and repeat the process, until you have completed the entire mouth.

How Does Not Flossing Affect Overall Health?

Gum disease is common. It occurs when bacteria in plaque beneath the gum line is left untreated, which can lead to receding gums and bleeding gums, tooth loss, and gum disease treatment.

Gum disease is specifically associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and other serious health conditions. When bacteria are left in your mouth, they can end up in your bloodstream. Important oral hygiene tasks like flossing help remove harmful bacteria that can lead to gum disease.

How Do I Know If I Need Gum Disease Treatment?

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in children and adults. Preventive dentistry helps treat problems in the early stages.

Some symptoms that you should never ignore include:

  • Bleeding gums: This can indicate that you’re brushing and/or flossing too hard, but is also a common sign of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease.
  • Swollen or inflamed gums: When there is plaque and tartar buildup at the gumline, you’ll see inflammation. This will make the gums look red or swollen.
  • Receding gums: Gum recession occurs when the gums begin to pull away from a tooth and expose the tooth root.
  • Tooth sensitivity: This gum recession can make teeth sensitive to hot or cold. As this occurs, it can make it easier for bacteria to build up.
  • Loose teeth: When your gum disease is advancing into later stages, your teeth may become loose.
  • Pus between teeth: Abscesses containing pus can form and can burst at any time. If you experience a fever with an abscess, seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Without proper antibiotics, you could experience long-term damage to your gums and teeth.
  • Changes in your bite: If your teeth no longer come together properly, this could be because of gum disease. When gum disease progresses, it can cause your teeth to shift in your mouth because the bone that holds them in place is getting destroyed.

Avoid Gum Disease Treatment By Flossing Regularly

At Eriks Dental Group, Dr. Ty Eriks, DMD, teaches his Boynton Beach patients how to care for their teeth properly at home. Good oral hygiene includes regular dental exams and teeth cleanings to ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy.

To learn more about our dental services like gum disease treatment, call us at 561-733-4004.