Flossing is something that many people dislike doing. Some people think that just by brushing their teeth twice a day there is no reason to floss. However, brushing the teeth and flossing is not an either/or type of oral care. Both have their benefits in developing proper oral care habits in between regular checkups at your dentist.
What Does Brushing Do?
Brushing helps remove plaque and food particles from the front and back of the teeth. Even if you use a high-end electric toothbrush, it does not get fully get in between the teeth where plaque and food particles hide.
Another benefit of brushing is it helps maintain gum health by removing particles and plaque from the base of the teeth near the gumline. Yet, again, it cannot remove plaque and particles at the gumline in between the teeth.
What Does Flossing Do?
Flossing is essentially “brushing” the sides of the teeth to remove plaque and food particles. The floss is designed to remove plaque and release trapped food particles. Another reason flossing is important is because it helps ensure there is no plaque or particles at the gumline.
In addition, flossing, when combined with regular brushing can help reduce the risks of gum disease. Gum disease is a condition where the gum tissue becomes irritated from food particles and plaque that has hardened and turned into tartar or dental calculus.
Tartar is a hard substance that cannot be removed with brushing or flossing. Only your dental hygienist can remove the tartar.
Why Is Tartar Bad for the Teeth and Gums?
Tartar can trap bacteria underneath it, yet on top of the tooth enamel or along the gumline. The bacteria can slowly erode the enamel layer, cause tooth decay, and eventually a cavity. At the gumline, the bacteria and tartar are an irritant to the gum tissue.
The gum tissue can become swollen, red, and even bleed easily. If the tartar and bacteria are not removed, the gum tissue starts to pull away from the teeth, exposing more of the tooth root. Now, this exposed part can get plaque, food particles, bacteria, and tartar on it.
Gradually, if you skip regular dental visits, the gum tissue continues to pull away and recede exposing more and more tooth and gingivitis, or first-stage periodontal disease develops. Eventually, if nothing is done, the gum tissue continues to recede, and the tooth will eventually fall out.
Furthermore, the bacteria can spread down into the tooth roots and reach the jawbone. Infections can develop that cause a decrease in jawbone density. There is also a link between periodontal disease in increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
There is clear evidence that people who brush twice a day and floss once a day have better overall oral health, healthier gum tissue, and keep their natural teeth much longer.Clean Teeth, Oral Care Habits, Oral Hygiene