I can’t tell you how many times I see cavities in patients with impeccable oral hygiene minus one crucial component. It is clear to me that the general public understands the role of proper brushing….but not so clear is the importance of daily flossing in preventing decay between the teeth along with gingivitis (gum inflammation). According to the American Academy of Periodontology only 13.5% of Americans floss each day. It is important to understand, teeth that are plaque free cannot decay. Even the best of brushers cannot penetrate the contact area to remove bacterial plaque, and thus these individuals are still susceptible to decay (cavities) between the teeth. The benefits of flossing are two-fold; (1) flossing removes plaque from the contact area and along the sides of the teeth, and (2) removes plaque around the gum tissue while also providing stimulation for the gums. After just a few days the gum tissue returns to a healthy pink color and withstands proper flossing without bleeding. The bleeding we see during flossing is rarely a response to trauma but a reflection of the inflammation present in the gum tissue. Do your teeth, gums and pocketbook a favor and join the 13.5% that are flossing daily.
Brandon Helgeson DDS
American Academy of Periodontology (Perio.org). “Dispelling Myths about Gum Disease: The Truth Behind Healthy Teeth and Gums”. Feb 18, 2011. http://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease-myths.htm