If you have ever visited a periodontist for gum disease, they probably told you to floss more often. Lectures about flossing might be tiresome to hear, but periodontists have good reasons for recommending this method of cleaning between your teeth. Here are a few reasons why your periodontist is always telling you to floss.
1. Flossing Helps to Remove Plaque
When you skip flossing, dental plaque builds up between the teeth. This bacterial film increases the chance of tooth decay and gum disease. Your toothbrush can remove plaque from the surfaces of your teeth, but not from the tiny gaps between them.
If you skip flossing, you give dental plaque a chance to harden into tartar, which is very difficult to remove. Flossing every day is the best way to prevent the build-up of tartar and protect your oral health.
2. Flossing Freshens Breath
In addition to removing dental plaque, cleaning between your teeth with floss also removes small particles of food, which can have a big effect on the way your breath smells. If you enjoy eating strongly flavoured foods, such as meals that contain a lot of garlic or spices, then flossing is essential to ensure these smells do not hang around on your breath.
Floss every evening to make your morning breath a little sweeter. You might also like to floss after meals so you don't have to worry about your colleagues being hit by the smells of your lunch during afternoon meetings.
3. Flossing Protects Against Gum Disease
Flossing with correct technique involves reaching into the gum pockets, below the gum line, to remove dental plaque. This process helps to keep your gums free from infection and inflammation, also sometimes known as gingivitis. On the other hand, if you skip flossing for a long time, gum inflammation could develop into full-blown gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and even affect the health of your jaw bone.
4. Flossing Protects Your Overall Health
Gum disease is associated with a range of serious health conditions, including strokes, heart disease, and diabetes. Scientists think that the presence of bacteria in the gums could contribute to these conditions. Flossing could protect more than your teeth and gums; it could help to keep your whole body healthy.
5. Flossing Gets Easier
If you avoid flossing because it hurts, rest assured that it gets easier with practice. Ask your periodontist to show you the correct technique: you should slide the floss along the edge of each tooth, rather than sawing back and forth into the gum. As you floss more often, the spaces between your teeth will open up and your gums will become less sensitive, making flossing an easier and more enjoyable experience.