Did you know that only about half of Americans floss their teeth every day? And nearly 20 percent don’t floss at all. If you want a healthy smile, we encourage you to floss once a day, every day.
You probably already know that the American Dental Association advises flossing your teeth once a day and brushing twice daily. The main reason is, no matter how technologically advanced your toothbrush is, it can’t clean between teeth and around the gumline like properly. It can leave you with a buildup of plaque in those areas that can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
Plaque is a clear, sticky, bacterial biofilm that forms on the teeth and coats the tongue. Made of harmful oral bacteria and sugar, it can be felt by running your tongue across the teeth. If it isn’t removed every day by brushing and flossing between teeth and around the gum line, it will steadily build up and harden into tartar. The only way to remove tartar is with dental scaling and polishing at your biannual dental cleanings.
Tartar causes gum tissue to swell and leads to gingivitis, which is the early stage of gum disease. When it goes below the gum line and is allowed to grow, untreated plaque can lead to periodontal disease and is often a painful outcome as the disease decays the teeth, which may cause tooth loss as diseased gums recede and form unhealthy pockets.
Preventing Gum Disease
Avoiding gum disease and tooth decay should be a top priority as you want to keep your teeth healthy. Studies have shown that people who make brushing AND flossing a part of their daily oral hygiene care have fewer incidences of gum disease and tooth decay than those who don’t floss.
Promoting Better Overall Health
Gum disease isn’t the only reason you want to floss every day. Turns out periodontal disease is linked to a variety of chronic illnesses. Here are some sobering facts:
– People with periodontal disease are nearly twice as vulnerable to get heart disease. It is because oral bacteria get into the bloodstream and stick to fatty deposits that can form blood clots (which can also cause a stroke), and raise blood pressure from swollen blood vessels.
– People who have diabetes can have a harder time regulating blood sugar levels with gum disease.
– Bacteria in gum disease can also create lung problems, especially for the elderly.
– Gum disease in pregnant women can lead to premature births with low birthweight babies.
Our endodontic team practices root canal therapy. If a gum infection starts in the tooth pulp or gums and then spreads, a root canal treatment can often save a tooth before the disease spreads into the gums. If a tooth is too loose because of supported bone loss, it may need to be extracted, and it may require a bone graft or install a dental implant to replace the missing tooth.
For your best dental and overall health, we recommend brushing and flossing your teeth every day. If gum disease has caused problems with your teeth and you suspect you need a root canal or other endodontic treatment, we are ready to help! Give us a call today and get your oral health back on track.