Let’s face it, flossing can be a difficult activity to add to our health and beauty routines.
Most of the time, a quick brushing seems to do the trick of clearing debris like unsightly grains of pepper or shards of spinach, but that is not the whole story. In fact, it is typically what is unseen that can cause the most significant health problems.
And that is where flossing, or using an “interdental cleaner” as it is referred to in the practice, can become your best ally for achieving maximal oral health.
The problem is that when teeth are left uncleaned, debris will build up and bacteria form plaque as a way to feed on the debris. Dr. Long describes plaque as a colony of bacteria, much like ants on an ant hill.
Plaque and food particles can lead to gingivitis and gum disease. And while the symptoms of gingivitis might be relatively benign at first, it is gum disease and related health problems that can be the most dangerous.
While the problem might be hidden from view at first, there are multiple signs of gingivitis onset that flossing will prevent.
Here are a few things to look out for if you are not flossing regularly:
- Swollen gums, typically tender to the touch
- Reddish gums that lack the normal pink luster
- Bad breath
If you notice any of these signs, schedule an appointment with your dentist at your earliest convenience. Dr. Long is experienced in treating both gingivitis and gum disease. At Ethan Long, DDS, you can expect immediate help in eliminating the plaque buildup that can lead to these symptoms and an effective treatment plan to keep them from coming back.
Otherwise, you can implement a preventative treatment plan for yourself by picking up flossing. And here’s the thing, you only need to do it once a day!
Some people like to think of flossing like a game, as it can be helpful to set goals for achieving new habits. The average adult has 32 teeth, which makes for about 16 different locations to floss. If you spend just two seconds on each location, you’ll have safeguarded the health of your future self in less than one minute.
Fun fact: it doesn’t really matter whether you brush or floss first; it only matters that you do both for the best oral health.
The bottom line? Flossing is an important tool for maximizing oral health and minimizing the many risks associated with plaque buildup. Brushing your teeth alone keeps your teeth looking good outwardly, but it is imperative to stay vigilant in protecting your teeth and gums against the buildup of plaque.
If you have further questions or want to know more about flossing or the health of your gums, please give us a call. We are happy to help you establish an oral health and hygiene plan for yourself and loved ones.