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Your Carlisle, PA dentist can tell when you don’t floss

January 3, 2016

Filed under: Family Dentistry — dr_neslund @ 9:42 pm

Carlisle, PA dentistFlossing is foundational to oral hygiene. Thomas Neslund DMD, Carlisle, PA dentist, urges patients to floss daily to preserve teeth and gums.

Red, swollen and bleeding gums–these symptoms tell your Carlisle, PA cosmetic dentist, Dr.Thomas Neslund, that you don’t floss. So what’s the big deal? Find out why correct and routine flossing spares oral health.

Dentists and hygienists don’t promote flossing because they want dental product manufacturers to get rich. No, there’s real science behind the daily discipline of flossing. In addition to twice daily brushing for 2 minutes, the American Dental Association recommends flossing in between teeth at least once a day. The rationale? Prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

What happens in the mouth doesn’t stay in the mouth

Here’s why all dental hygiene-whether in the dentist’s office or at home–is critical to oral and to systemic health.  As we consume food, organic residues stay behind on and between teeth. Particles from sugars and carbohydrates are particularly sticky and form a biofilm called plaque.

Your Carlisle, PA cosmetic dentist and his staff can see plaque when they perform an  oral exam. Varying in color from white to yellow to brown, plaque is particularly noticeable at the gumline. Also, people who start flossing just days before their dental visits have obviously abraded gums.

Plaque contains millions of germs that secrete acids that eat away at tooth enamel. Also, these microbes infect gum tissue, leading to bad breath and the symptoms of advanced gum disease, such as:

  • pus at the gum line
  • gum and bone recession after plaque hardens into tartar
  • bleeding
  • swelling and redness
  • loose teeth
  • tooth loss
  • formation of gum pockets, areas where the soft tissue pulls away from teeth

Additionally, as gum disease advances, that same bacteria spreads throughout the body. Researchers link oral bacteria to serious systemic health problems such as:

  • diabetes
  • dementia
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • respiratory infections
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • hypertension
  • pregnancy problems

While even advanced gum disease, or periodontitis, may be successfully treated with soft tissue lasers, flap surgeries and traditional tooth scaling and root planing, the question remains, “Why not floss instead?” Just like brushing your teeth, flossing is simple and takes just a few minutes daily for great insurance against oral and overall health problems.

How to floss

Dr. Neslund recommends that patients choose the flossing product they like–thick, thin, flavored, waxed or plain. What matters is daily use of floss as follows:

  • Pull a 18-Inch length of floss from the dispenser. Wind each end around opposite index or middle fingers, and using the thumbs, pull a 1 to 2” section taut.
  • Gently insert the floss between 2 teeth and move it up and down. Do not snap the floss against sensitive gum tissue, particularly if you have not been habitually flossing.
  • Continue this insert and floss routine between all your teeth, and don’t neglect your backmost molars.
  • Wind the used floss around your fingers as you go, and use a clean strand each time.

At first, your gums may be tender and bleed, but as the habit develops, your gums will respond, and  interdental spaces will be noticeably cleaner when you visit Carlisle Family and Cosmetic Dentistry for your 6-month exam and cleaning.

Start now

Begin this oral hygiene habit today for best oral and overall health. Contact Carlisle Family and Cosmetic Dentistry for your semi-annual appointment, and ask your hygienist for more tips on proper flossing.

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