It’s no secret that good hygiene is the key to a lifetime of good dental health. However, despite a lifetime’s worth of experience, many of us don’t do as good of a job at keeping our smile’s healthy as we should. Today, we examine a few of the commonly overlooked tenants of a good hygiene routine, and how you can improve your routine with better flossing techniques to reduce your risks of experiencing dental health issues.
Brush twice, floss once: the golden rule of dental health. And yet it seems every annual cleaning finds you renewing your promise to be a better, more consistent flosser. Perhaps if you knew why flossing was so crucial to the health of your teeth and gums, you might find the motivation to keep follow through with your good intentions.
Why is flossing crucial to healthy teeth and gums?
Flossing does something brushing can’t do alone, which is reach the surfaces between teeth, at the gum line and behind hard-to-reach molars. The reason you want to you clean these areas is because left-over plaque (gooey bacteria) builds up and creates a opportunity for infection to occur. Flossing also stimulates the gums, which have many tiny blood vessels that carry nutrients to the tooth root. Massaging the gums by brushing and flossing increases circulation, resulting in strong teeth.
Yes Flossing is Important!!
Perhaps you have heard in mass media that flossing isn’t important to your oral hygiene? Maybe you’ve spent years overlooking this task, and feel like your smile hasn’t suffered because of it. Many studies indicate that less than 30 percent of the adults in America floss on a regular basis. Far less do so daily, as recommended by their preventive dentists. Unfortunately, this could be contributing to the fact that nearly half of Americans are likely struggling with gum disease. Most dentists still agree, that flossing is crucial to maintaining great oral health between dental visits. Over time, this can contribute to major dental problems, from cavities to the development of gum disease. Fortunately, it’s not too late to form this great dental habit, and doing so can help improve and protect your oral health! So if you care about keeping your teeth and gums healthy, practice better dental hygiene and floss daily.
Is flossing my only option?
If flossing is not easy for you, due to arthritis or braces, Dr. James Fondriest offers a solution. Inter-dental stimulators are stick-like tools with a brush on one end. They work for targeting specific areas that a wider angled tooth brush cannot clean properly. For even more effectiveness, try dipping the end in an oral anti-bacterial cleanser like Gly-Oxide. Inter-Dental Stimulators or brushes do not make tradition flossing irrelevant but they provide essential gum stimulation. You will still want to have your dental hygenist floss your teeth for you at your next cleaning.
Why Brushing Your Teeth Is Not Enough
Brushing your teeth is, of course, an important part of your daily dental hygiene. That is because twice daily brushing helps to remove food particles and bacteria from the surface of the teeth, helping to prevent staining as well as harmful plaque buildup.
However, a toothbrush’s bristles cannot reach between teeth, which allows bacteria to fall into those crevices. Over time, this can lead to irritation of the gums and acidic buildup.
How Flossing Can Aid In Preserving Your Oral Health
Flossing really is an important part of preventive dental care. Flossing helps to remove these bacteria that are prone to fall into the small crevices between teeth, because it is designed to be gently pulled between them. When used properly, most dentists agree that flossing can greatly reduce a patient’s chance of developing gum disease, and the risk of cavities as well. That is because flossing is the best way to clean the portions of the teeth that toothbrush bristles cannot reach, namely the portions near the crevices between teeth. Over time, failing to floss can allow these parts of the teeth to remain dirty and eventually allow tartar buildup to cause acid erosion of the teeth and inflammation or irritation of the gums, as well.
The American Dental Association has provided helpful videos demonstrating proper flossing technique, which can help ensure you are doing so effectively. It is also important to keep in mind that if you notice bleeding while flossing, it could be due to existing gingivitis, which will require a thorough dental cleaning and possibly periodontal therapy to help reverse.
Better Dental Hygiene Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult or Uncomfortable
Fortunately, learning to floss doesn’t have to be difficult. The act of flossing should not be time consuming or uncomfortable, either. When the gums are healthy, you should not see bleeding while flossing. In fact, bleeding gums are actually an early warning sign of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. If you do notice bleeding, you should schedule a dental visit, as you might be in need of a dental or periodontal cleaning.
Proper technique involves gently moving a clean piece of floss between each tooth, helping to dislodge any food particles or bacteria that might be there. If you’re unsure about whether you’re flossing correctly, be sure to talk to your dentist at your next checkup. With time and practice, flossing should be an easy addition to your hygiene routine, yet an important one in protecting both your teeth and gums’ health.
Dr Fondriest is a Nationally recognized and highly sought after cosmetic dentist serving clients from throughout the United States
Cleaning your teeth for Better Dental Hygiene
Brushing and flossing your teeth are the cornerstones of good dental hygiene. To be effective, though, you have to do it at least twice a day, every day. The point of cleaning your teeth is to remove traces of food and harmful oral bacteria (in the form of dental plaque) from their surfaces. Plaque constantly forms, so you have to constantly remove it before it calcifies into tartar and becomes insoluble.
Watching what you eat
Harmful oral bacteria found in plaque are a threat because they convert nutrients in your food into harmful substances, like toxins and acids. For instance, if you indulge on sugar too often, then oral bacteria can convert it into massive amounts of acid that erodes your tooth enamel, making way for tooth decay. By eating healthier and reducing how often you snack, you can limit how much fuel oral bacteria have to convert into harmful substances.
Visiting your dentist regularly
Though it’s not something you do at home, visiting your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings is vital to your good hygiene. When plaque calcifies into tartar, it can only be removed with professional help from your dentist or hygienist. Otherwise, even your best hygiene efforts at home will eventually fail.
Learn More About Having Better Dental Hygiene
A consistent routine of excellent hygiene practices will increase your chances of preserving your healthy, natural smile. To learn more, schedule a consultation by calling Lake Forest Dental Arts in Lake Forest, IL, at 847-234-0517. We also proudly serve residents of Chicago and all surrounding communities in the Chicago Metro area.