Part one of this blog on flossing gave some of the basic reasons to frequently floss your teeth; to prevent decay and maintain healthy gums. This update will take you a little deeper. The most common reason for adult tooth loss is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is when the supporting bone that holds our teeth firmly in place is lost. When enough bone is lost, teeth can become painful, loose, and non-functional. This leads to the only treatment option of extraction. This disease is caused by the bacteria left on your teeth and gums. The bacteria also has access to your bloodstream through inflamed and weakened gum tissue. There is a strong relationship between oral health and the health of the rest of your body (this will be discussed in great detail in a future blog).
Years ago, the Dental community came up with a slogan; ONLY FLOSS THE TEETH YOU WANT TO KEEP! A simple thought that speaks volumes on why to floss. So how do you floss? My recommendation is to have your hygienist demonstrate the technique in your mouth. Basically, you want to think of it as washing a window; you want to scrape the bacterial plaque off the sides of the teeth and out of the contact area. As it pertains to the type of floss, there are two basic types; waxed and unwaxed. Ultimately you need to choose the type of floss that gets through the contact areas of your teeth while providing you the least frustration. Many times unwaxed floss can tear when used in tight contacts or around fillings that have poor contours/rough edges. In these situations, it would be appropriate to utilize waxed floss. Either way, it is important to recognize the benefits of flossing for your teeth, gums, and the rest of your body.
Flossing is a habit with a strong correlation to long life (stay tuned for more on this). We hope we have demonstrated the importance of flossing for your teeth and gums in these two blogs. I would like to personally wish you all a long, healthy and happy life with daily flossing being an important contributor in achieving that.
Dr. Robert Casper Jr. DDS