I had a patient come to me a few months ago who was a young college student. After a quick exam of his mouth, it was clear that he wasn’t flossing his teeth often, if at all. I asked him about the situation, and he admitted that flossing was never his strong suit. My guess is that you or someone you know has a similar problem as this young patient, who has never had a history of major dental work or even that many cavities.
Without lecturing my patient, I explained that overtime he could develop some problems as a result of skipping out on flossing his teeth every day. Brushing your teeth only cleans about 60 percent of the tooth. About 40 percent of the tooth is located beneath the gums, an area that must be cleaned with floss.
In my last blog, I told you a story about a young man dying from a toothache. The toothache was an infection that actually spread to the brain. It’s an unfortunate true story that shows just the gamble you take when you do not receive the oral care you need. Today I want to tell you about the risk you take by not developing a strong daily oral hygiene plan.
At Eugene Family Dental, we encourage patients to brush twice a day and floss daily and also maintain their six-month dental checkups. Even though brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent dental problems, you still need to visit an oral health professional for checkups and exams. We treat dental issues with state-of-the-art restorative dentistry and use soft-tissue lasers to treat gum disease.
One thing I love to educate my patients about is floss. Flossing is great way to remove plaque from between teeth and underneath the gums. Plaque develops from bacteria and can developed into tartar if left untreated. Plaque is actually a soft substance and can be removed by flossing and brushing. Tartar is simply hardened plaque that can only be removed by an oral health professional. We ask that patients brush twice a day because plaque can form inside the mouth in just eight hours.
Patients who do not brush properly or floss put themselves at a higher risk of cavities and gum disease. Gum disease is a serious problem in this country. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss and has been linked to serious problems like heart disease and diabetes. The scary thing about gum disease is that it can strike with little notice and it’s estimated that 75 percent of Americans will have gum disease at some point in their lives.
That’s why I was shocked to read a new study conducted by Delta Dental Plans Association that found that only 70 percent of Americans brush twice a day. That same study found that only 40 percent of Americans regularly floss their teeth every day, with 20 percent of that population never flossing their teeth. That means that more than half of our country is at a higher risk of gum disease.
By not flossing, you put yourself at a higher risk of cavities, gum disease, bad breath and problems like heart disease and diabetes. Studies have found a two-way street exists between heart disease and gum disease and diabetes and gum disease, which means one can trigger the other. That’s because the same inflammation that creates gum disease also is present in heart disease and diabetes.
Patients with gum disease often have symptoms like bleeding or swollen gums, but it’s possible that you can have gum disease and have no physical signs. My office can treat all aspects of gum disease with soft-tissue lasers. The lasers allow us to clean out the periodontal pocket with the use of sutures or scalpels. The lasers increase the recovery period and allow the gum and tooth to naturally re-attach after the treatment.
I have written a lot about the importance of caring for your teeth and regular dental care. If you have not been to the dentist in a while or you have not practiced the best oral hygiene, there is no need to be ashamed. My office works with patients of all dental needs, and we will never lecture you about the state of your teeth or make you feel guilty. We are here to help you keep your smile healthy and beautiful.
If you’re ready to start your dental journey with our office, call us today or schedule an appointment using our online form.