Earlier this month, you may have seen news stories suggesting that the benefits of flossing have been exaggerated.
That doesn’t mean you get a pass. You should still floss between your teeth and below your gumline. It’s still good for your oral health.
And yes, it will still reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.
It may be true that flossing may not help reverse gum disease when it reaches its advanced stages. However, flossing can help reverse the symptoms of gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease than can turn into periodontitis (advanced gum disease).
If you should develop periodontitis, our team at Marineland Dental Care will be here to help you. For your sake and the sake of all our patients in and around Kennewick, WA, we hope you will continue to do what you can to prevent your gums from becoming infected.
The Right Way To Floss
As the news stories pointed out, the studies on flossing have been unreliable. That is not the same as saying that flossing doesn’t work or doesn’t help. It just means that better research needs to be conducted.
But even within the news coverage there was a hint at what may be the real problem. Many people may not floss correctly when they do floss.
The New York Times pointed out a review of six trial studies. In these studies, a dental professional flossed children’s teeth every day for two years. The result: those children saw a 40 percent reduction in cavities.
With that in mind, we want to take some time to review steps in flossing correctly.
First, you should break off a piece of dental that is approximately 18 inches long. Wrap the floss around your middle fingers
Second, grip a small portion of the floss between your thumb and forefingers. Work the floss between your teeth being sure you “hug” the floss around each side of your tooth so you get underneath the gumline as well. (Don’t press too hard, however, since you can damage your gum tissue.)
As needed, wind and unwind the floss so you have a clean piece to use between each tooth and around the back of your last teeth.
If you are more of a visual learner, here is a video the American Dental Association made for its Mouth Healthy website:
Why Flossing Is Still Important?
Your toothbrush is a wonderful tool to scrub most of the surface of your teeth when you add a squeeze of fluoride toothpaste. You should continue doing that, but even your fancy vibrating toothbrush isn’t cleaning below your gumline.
Dental floss is an effective tool for cleaning those spaces to remove pieces of food, plaque, and bacteria. This helps in the fight against cavities and periodontal disease.
That said, we also know that some people have difficulty flossing. If that is the case, please ask us about other interdental cleaning tools.
One example of this is a flosser. You have probably seen them in the toothpaste aisle. These are small, disposable devices with a small handle and a thread of floss on one end. You can use this similar to how you would use dental floss, but some people find the handle makes it more comfortable.
Another option is a water flosser. Instead of thread, this device uses a focuses stream of water to clean those spaces between your teeth and gums.
The point is that you can’t clean your whole mouth if a toothbrush is the only tool that you use. Dental floss or another interdental tool is needed to clean those harder-to-reach places.
Know When To Call The Dentist
It’s also important to know when you need to visit the dentist for your periodontal treatment.
A person with gingivitis may notice bleeding when he or she brushes or flosses, or his or her gums may appear red or swollen. If you floss correctly, this often can reverse those symptoms.
If you don’t take action, the gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. This is when you will need a dentist or hygienist to remove your infection. If you have these symptoms, it’s time to make an appointment at Marineland Dental Care:
◼︎ Sore or tender gums
◼︎ Gum recession (which is when your gums are pulling back from their original location)
◼︎ Lingering bad breath
◼︎ Pus leaking from your gums or between your gums and teeth
◼︎ Teeth that feel loose in their sockets
If you need periodontal treatment, please contact us as soon. You can make an appointment at our dentist office in Kennewick, WA, by calling 509-591-0515 or by filling out our online form.