Flossing is one of the most unappreciated, simplest steps that can be taken to not only improve and maintain your dental health, but your overall health. Because of how underutilized it is, the prevalence of periodontal disease in adults should come as no surprise.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that affects not just your gums, but ultimately your teeth and bones. Plaque caused by the food you eat and beverages you drink sticks to your teeth. If ignored, it becomes acidic, eating away at your enamel, creating cavities and irritating your gums, eventually hardening into tartar or calculus. If not tended to, this can cause periodontal disease, or gum disease, as it is commonly referred to as. Gum disease corrodes the teeth and gums, eventually deteriorating the surrounding bone. Not only is this disease painful and conducive to bad breath, but bone loss can change the appearance of your face.
If allowed to progress, this infection can get into your bloodstream, causing the arteries in your brain and heart to constrict. Studies show there is a correlation between gum disease and heart disease.
However, this process does not happen overnight. The good news is it’s possible to prevent periodontal disease from worsening if you take the necessary steps to halt it, and practicing good oral hygiene habits early can prevent periodontal disease all together.
Imagine if you never cleaned all the accidental splashes and crumbs of food you spill in your kitchen. Imagine that they don’t just begin to smell bad as they rot, but they erode holes through your floor and appliances. The same thing happens when you don’t floss. Though the food particles in your mouth are substantially smaller than what you would find in your kitchen, as they mix with bacteria, plaque begins to form. Brushing twice a day and using an antiseptic mouthwash helps keep the surface of your teeth clean, but neither are able to thoroughly access the areas between your teeth. This is what flossing is for. Floss is able to not only clear the area between your teeth, but it can also reach just below the gumline, if proper technique is used.
Whatever your reasons are for not flossing regularly, there are many different types of dental floss to accommodate you. Flossing at least once a day can help ensure you keep your smile for the rest of your life, and Dr. Phelan and our team can make suggestions to make this a more convenient part of your home care routine. Contact us today to schedule your next visit!