For many, flossing is optional when it comes to oral hygiene habits. The truth, however, is that flossing is as important as brushing your teeth, as an Apex, North Carolina dentist can explain. Flossing not only keeps your teeth healthy but can contribute to improved overall health as well. Flossing enables you to reach areas where the bristles of your toothbrush cannot. Dentists recommend you floss your teeth regularly as part of an effective home care routine. Learn more about What is Dental Erosion?
The Benefits of Flossing
- Prevent Gingivitis and Gum Disease: Flossing removes plaque and food particles from between your teeth. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and the most treatable. Flossing helps prevent the signs and symptoms of gingivitis by removing plaque.
- Prevent Tartar: Tartar refers to the calcification of dental plaque when exposed to saliva. Dentists, like a trusted Apex, NC dentist, recommend flossing daily to prevent formation of tartar which can also lead to gum disease.
- Prevent Cavities: The same dental plaque that causes gingivitis can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria that will destroy the enamel between your teeth, forming a cavity. Flossing daily decreases the likelihood of cavity development.
- Prevents Halitosis: Halitosis is another name for bad breath. The main cause of bad breath is food particles that are left between teeth. The only way to get rid of every bit of food particle is to floss daily.
- Prevent Heart Disease: It has been established that there is an association between oral health and heart disease, as a dentist in Apex, NC can attest. This is because the mouth acts as an inlet of harmful bacteria to the cardiac tissue. Brushing twice a day and flossing is the best way of preventing such bacteria from affecting your heart.
- Control Diabetes: Diabetics are more likely to develop gingivitis than people who don’t have diabetes. And poor oral hygiene can make diabetes more difficult to control. Flossing is important in preventing gum infections, which could affect your insulin needs.
- Make teeth appear whiter: Your teeth will look brighter and healthier if you maintain healthy gums, by flossing daily with whitening floss or any other type of floss that you like.
Types of Dental Floss
There are multiple types of floss and all are effective when used properly with the education from an Apex, NC dentist.
- Unwaxed floss is thin nylon floss made of strands twisted together. It fits into tight spaces if your teeth are close together, but it is prone to shredding or breaking.
- Waxed floss is standard nylon floss with a light wax coating. It is less likely to break, but the wax coating may make it harder to use in tight spots.
- Dental tape is broader and flatter than standard floss and comes in waxed or unwaxed varieties. People with more space between their teeth often find dental tape more comfortable to use than standard floss.
- Polytetrafluorethylene floss (PTFE) is the same material used in high-tech Gore-Tex fabric. The material slides between the teeth easily and is less likely to shred compared to standard floss.
- Super flosses are made from yarn-like material that has stiffer sections on each end that can be used to clean around braces or dental bridges.
For more information on why flossing is so important, or to schedule an appointment today, contact an Apex, NC Dentist from Alliance Dentistry, today.
Aging and Gum Disease: What You Need to Know
Gum disease is widespread. A large percentage of people will develop gum disease during their lifetime. While gum disease is more prevalent in seniors, it’s not necessarily an unavoidable part of aging.
As an Apex, NC dentist can explain, there are numerous things that you can do to both prevent and treat gum disease. Understanding the dangers and impact of gum disease and taking the proper precautions now will go a long way toward protecting your health down the road.
What Is Gum Disease?
The gums are the tissues that hold your teeth in place. Gum disease is an infection of this tissue. As tooth plaque builds up at the base of a tooth, it can start to grow beneath the gum line. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to permanent damage to the gum tissue and possibly even tooth loss.
There are two main types of gum disease. The first, called gingivitis, is of lesser severity. You can have gingivitis without noticing any discomfort or symptoms. And though you may not see or feel apparent signs of gum disease, it can sneak up on you.
That’s why it’s essential to visit Alliance Dentistry regularly. Each Apex, NC dentist from our practice can detect the gingivitis that you may not be aware of. The second type of gum disease, called periodontitis, is a more severe form of gum disease that may develop from untreated gingivitis.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by plaque buildup and typically results from poor oral hygiene. Dental plaque builds up at the base of a tooth and starts to grow beneath the gum line, leading to damage of the gum tissue. Several factors may increase your risk of developing gum disease, including:
- Hormonal changes in women
- Medications that reduce saliva production
Gum disease takes time to develop and is more prevalent in older adults. As you age, it’s vital not to slack off on your dental care. One of the most effective ways to prevent gum disease is by brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily. This can keep plaque levels in check.
You should also see a qualified dentist in Apex, NC at Alliance Dentistry at least twice a year for a professional cleaning. During this appointment, we can remove both plaque and tartar, which is a form of hardened plaque. Tartar typically can’t be removed by at-home dental care.
The Dangers of Gum Disease for Older Adults
When gum disease is left untreated, it can lead to bone loss around the teeth. Indeed, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. And once seniors have lost some or all of their teeth, they can experience many challenges. Although there are numerous options for tooth replacement, such as implants and dentures, these can be potentially painful and expensive procedures.
The best opportunity to preserve your ability to eat, smile, and talk without discomfort or struggle is to take good care of your teeth. Call today to schedule an appointment with an Apex, NC dentist so that we can evaluate your risk of gum disease.