Glossing up on your flossing
When it comes to taking care of your teeth at home, research has discovered that many Americans are skipping it. It found that only about a third of adults over thirty regularly floss. Less than 20 percent of millennials floss regularly. Neglecting this important part of your home dental care may be costing more than you realize.
A particularly damaging gum disease called periodontitis affects about half of the adults over 30 in the United States. This gum disease is the more serious form and it can result in damage to your gums, jawbone, and loss of teeth. It is the primary reason why adults are losing their teeth today.
How Periodontitis Works
Periodontitis is caused by bacteria that naturally occur in your mouth. In a healthy mouth, the bacteria are kept under control and cause few problems. It is the same bacterium that causes cavities.
As the bad bacteria gets into the gums it causes inflammation. This is because it produces an acid that triggers your body's immune system to start working. The first evidence of gum disease is that your gums will bleed and they will be inflamed. At this stage, it is called gingivitis.
The Role of Flossing
Keeping the bacteria off of your teeth is the key to protecting them and preventing periodontitis. While brushing your teeth will remove the bacteria off of the visible surfaces of your teeth, it cannot remove the bacteria between your teeth. This is where flossing reveals its value.
As long as the bacteria are allowed to remain between your teeth, it continues to produce acid – and inflammation in your gums. Not only will this result in cavities, but the damage caused by the inflammation can even be fatal.
Why Inflammation Is Serious
When there is inflammation in the gums, it gives the bad bacteria and inflammation access to your bloodstream. This enables it to go anywhere in your body. Inflammation has been discovered to be linked to many serious diseases, including cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, and many forms of cancer.
As the bacteria build up in the gums, pockets will start to form along the gum line. This will provide space for colonies of the bacteria to form, creating even more damage to your gums. Once in the pockets, the bacteria are safe from being removed by your toothbrush or flossing, which is why you will need a dentist's intervention at that time to help you get rid of the disease.
Periodontitis is also largely a painless disease. This is often why there can be extensive damage and little pain associated with it.
The bacterium that damages your teeth forms a biofilm on your teeth every day. It feeds on sugar and carbs, and every time you eat some, it will be producing acid for about the next 20 minutes. This is also true for every swig of soda, tea, or specialty coffee you drink with lots of sugar in it. Each swig means that more acid will bring more damage to your teeth – if you leave it there. Eating sugary snacks through the day – or even after you perform your nightly teeth cleaning – only helps to promote periodontal disease.
Flossing removes the bacteria between your teeth, which is why it helps to prevent gum disease, or may even enable you to remove it in the early stages. Using dental floss can remove up to 80 percent of the bacteria from your teeth. If left alone, it will soon form plaque, which becomes tartar. Tartar cannot be removed easily, and it is one of the primary causes of gum disease because the bacteria hide in it.
Gum Disease Ruins Your Smile
When you develop periodontitis, you will also begin to lose the appearance of being young. As the bacteria erode your gums and jawbone, it will narrow your mouth and affect the lower third of your face. The loss of teeth is not going to help, either.
Floss DailyThe key to preserving your teeth and smile is flossing teeth every day. Eating healthy foods will also help strengthen your gum's immune system and make your tooth's enamel stronger, too.
It really does not matter so much what kind of floss you use, it is important that you floss daily. Whether you use floss thread, dental floss picks, or a water flosser, use them daily – not flossing at all is what you want to avoid. Although orthodontics can make flossing difficult, it is just as important.
If you have periodontal disease, you need to see a dentist (periodontist) quickly in order to get periodontal treatment right away. The longer you wait, the more costly it becomes to repair the damage.
If you need gum disease treatment and live in the Carrollton, TX, and Grapevine, TX areas, you can get help from Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board-certified Periodontist. In addition to treating periodontal disease, he also performs cosmetic dentistry to restore your smile. For more information about his dental services, or to set up an appointment, you can call his office today at (817) 756-8578