The American Dental Association advises twice daily brushing and once a day flossing. Really? Is the addition of flossing so important? Dr. Allan J. Milewski, Medina dentist, says it definitely is. Find out why flossing is good for your teeth and for your systemic health.
Your Mouth Impacts the Rest of You
Dr. Milewski and his dedicated team promote daily flossing because they firmly believe it benefits your teeth and gums. What’s the reasoning here? Your Medina family dentist says it lowers the risk for dental decay, gum disease and ultimately, tooth loss. Additionally, keeping your mouth healthy keeps you in good overall health, too.
Here’s why. When we eat our daily meals and snacks, food residues remain on tooth surfaces and in interdental spaces. Processed sugars and carbohydrates are very sticky and form a biofilm called plaque. Left in place, plaque quickly mineralizes into rock-hard tartar, and this material is downright destructive.
Dr. Milewski and his team readily see plaque and tartar during an oral exam. Varying in color, plaque is obvious at the gumline and tartar, even more so as it begins to push gums away from the teeth.
Biofilm contains millions of bacteria which secrete damaging acids. This damage begins the dental cavity. Also, the microbes infect gum tissue, causing bad breath and the symptoms of advanced gum disease, or periodontitis, such as:
- Gum and bone recession
- Bleeding gums
- Puffiness and redness
- Tooth mobility
- Tooth loss
- Deep gum pockets
- Changes in the fit of dentures
- Changes in how teeth bite together
- Gaps between the teeth
Also, while the jury is still out on the link between periodontitis and overall health, dentists believe that oral bacteria play a role in:
- Type-2 diabetes
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Heart disease
- Pregnancy complications
- Liver and kidney problems
- Heart attack
Of course, periodontitis may be treated with soft tissue diode lasers, oral surgeries and tooth scaling and root planing, but why not avoid all that by flossing every day? Flossing is simple once you get used to it. It takes only minutes and is great health insurance.
How to Floss
Dr. Milewski recommends patients choose a flossing product they like–thick, thin, flavored, waxed or plain. It really doesn’t matter as long as you use the product consistently. Then, floss as follows:
- Pull a 18-Inch length of floss. Wind the ends around opposite index or middle fingers, and using your thumbs, pull a one to two inch section taut.
- Insert the floss between two teeth, and gently move it up and down. Do not snap the floss on the gums.
- Continue this procedure between all your teeth, including molars.
- Wind the used floss around your fingers as you go, and use a clean strand each time you floss.
At first, your gums may bleed, but over time, your gums will become firm. Your interdental spaces will be noticeably cleaner.
You Can Start a New Habit
Begin flossing right away for best oral and overall health. Contact Allan J. Milewski DDS for your six-month cleaning and exam. Ask your hygienist for advice on better flossing.