We’ve all been there. You just had an exam from the dentist and they ask the dreaded question, “So, how often do you floss?” You knew it was coming and so you’re prepared to stretch the truth a little. You say something like, “Oh, every other day…..” and the silence hangs in the air as the dentist looks at you. You know that you’re not being honest about it, but apparently, so does the dentist!
How exactly does the dentist know if you floss regularly or not?
There are a few signs that are a dead giveaway for your Wheat Ridge dentist or hygienist. Not flossing regularly leads to gingivitis, which is very easy to spot if you know what you are looking for.
Gingivitis has some clear symptoms, including:
- Red and/or bleeding gums
- Swollen or tender gums
- Gums that are receding from the teeth
- Bad breath
Your gums won’t necessarily bleed all the time, however a thorough cleaning from a dental professional will definitely do the trick. If the dentist or hygienist probes your gums and few drops of blood show up, it’s a dead giveaway. A dental professional is also more likely to notice receding gums than you are, because they are trained to look for the signs.
What about bad breath? You may get used to the smell of your own breath and don’t think it’s a problem. But having a friend give it a sniff will help you get an unbiased opinion of it. Bad breath is a result of bacteria in the mouth. And that bacteria is hiding in between your teeth and in pockets between the gums and teeth. If you don’t brush and floss regularly that bacteria continues to grow and leads to all sorts of dental problems.
It goes without saying that most dental problems can be prevented. By establishing a habit of brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day, you can prevent many dental problems that range from cavities, gum disease and ultimately bone and tooth loss.
Flossing specifically addresses those issues.
Many cavities start in between the teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. Gum disease is also a problem that begins, in part, with a lack of flossing. As the plaque, bacteria and tartar build up between the teeth and along the gumline, it causes the gums to pull away from the teeth and leads to infections in the pockets of the gums. If this is left untreated and allowed to continue it will cause the gums to recede further and further, this in turn leads to more infection and bone loss around the teeth that have infected gums. Once the bone level drops low enough, there is not enough support to hold the tooth in place and you begin to lose teeth.
All of this is entirely preventable by good oral hygiene. It is worth taking the time to brush and floss your teeth everyday. The benefits of keeping a mouth full of healthy teeth into old age far outweigh any inconvenience involved with taking care of your teeth.