Dental floss is a great tool for removing an annoying piece of food that’s stuck between your teeth, but is that the only time you use it? This important part of your dental routine does so much more than remove bits of your last meal from your teeth. In fact, research shows that regular flossing plays a key role in preventing gum disease, keeping your teeth in place, and reducing your chances of heart disease. Here’s what your Marysville dentist wants you to know about plaque, flossing, and protecting your smile.
Plaque and Tartar 101
Have you ever run your tongue along your teeth and found that they felt “fuzzy” or unsmooth? What you’re feeling is a sticky, colorless biofilm that builds up in your mouth throughout the day known as plaque. Plaque contains bacteria that feeds on the sugars in the foods you eat. This creates an acid that can burn through your enamel and cause cavities.
Plaque tends to accumulate in hard to clean areas like between your teeth, your back molars, and just underneath the gumline. Over time, it can harden into tartar. This tough, yellowish substance changes the color of your teeth and can only be removed by a dentist. The harmful bacteria it contains will start to attack the gums, which will irritate the tissue and eventually lead to a bacterial infection known as gum disease.
Brushing and Flossing: The Perfect Team
A toothbrush can easily clear off the chewing surfaces of your teeth. However, dental experts estimate that this removes only about 60% of the plaque and bacteria that endanger your smile. The remaining 40% hides and continues to collect in places that your toothbrush bristles can’t reach, like in the small spaces between your teeth and below your gums.
Dental floss picks up where your toothbrush leaves off. It’s thin enough to gently slide into those tight spaces, but strong enough to dislodge any leftover food particles, plaque, or bacteria stuck there. Not only does this lower your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infection, but it also prevents plaque from hardening into tartar and yellowing your pearly whites.
There Are Consequences for Not Flossing
It may not be the most popular pastime, but flossing should be a regular part of your daily dental routine. Skipping it could lead to:
- A dirty-looking, discolored smile.
- More cavities and tooth decay.
- A higher chance of developing oral infections.
- Gum disease, which can result in bleeding gums, sensitive teeth, and tooth loss.
- Larger health conditions that are linked to poor oral hygiene, like rheumatoid arthritis, memory loss, and heart disease.
Keeping up a complete dental routine every day is easier than dealing with the consequences of an unhealthy mouth! Start flossing today and improve your smile, oral health, and overall wellbeing!
About the Practice
At Darby Creek Dental in Marysville, OH, we’re dedicated to preventing oral health issues from developing in the first place. We encourage all our patients to come in every six months for a professional, refreshing cleaning as well as a thorough and effective checkup. Since great oral health starts at home, we’d also be happy to go over the best ways to make the most out of your dental routine. If you’d like more tips on flossing, feel free to contact us via our website or at (937) 644-8822.