Your local Boynton Beach and Delray Beach dentist, Dr. Jamie J. Alexander, wants you to floss daily. Almost all patients not only need this reminder, they also need to resolve to floss every day.
Why? Flossing removes trapped food particles and disrupts plaque, a sticky bacterial film that clings to teeth. When carbohydrates are left on your teeth, oral bacteria feed on them and release acid that erodes tooth enamel. This is the cause of dental cavities. As oral bacteria flourish on your teeth, the sticky plaque develops more and more. It’s a constant source of irritation to your gum tissue, causing the start and advancement of gum disease.
Effective brushing removes plaque and food debris from the front and back surfaces of your teeth. Effective flossing removes plaque and food debris from between your teeth.
You need to keep disrupting and washing away food debris and plaque between your teeth to slow down the development of dental plaque, prevent cavities between teeth, and maintain healthy gum tissue. If you are effective, you may only need to see the dentist for a checkup and cleaning every six months, which is the typical period for plaque to start developing in a well cleaned and healthy mouth.
Gum tissue irritated by plaque becomes inflamed and begins pulling away from the base of the tooth. It begins to appear puffy and may bleed when teeth are flossed and brushed. Gum recession (the pulling away) creates an enlarged “gum pocket” of space between the gum tissue and tooth surface. As inflammation progresses, the pocket becomes measurably deeper and bacteria collects in the pockets leading to infection.
When a pocket exceeds 4mm, gum disease is present. If gum tissue bleeds when you brush, it is an obvious sign that plaque is growing and your gum tissue is inflamed. If you have regular dental cleanings in the dental office and floss once a day and brush at least twice a day, including brushing at bedtime, you are likely to get the gum inflammation under control. Sometimes more aggressive treatment, called root planing and scaling, is needed in the dental office. You can celebrate when a gum pocket goes from 5mm to 4mm and lower.
Ideal gum pocket depth is lower than 3mm. Healthy gum tissue is tight around your teeth.
There’s more than one way to floss, so if you dislike string flossing, you can try out the options. “We’ve seen excellent results with water flossing,” says Dr. Alexander. “Many of our patients use both string floss and a Waterpik® with excellent results”
Jamie J. Alexander, D.D.S., and his entire dental team in Boynton Beach, FL, wish you a Happy 2019. “We really don’t like to beat patients up about flossing. We just hope you resolve to floss,” says Dr. Alexander. “Now is an ideal time for renewed commitment.”