Flossing refers to cleaning between the teeth. Traditionally, people used a long piece of floss to accomplish this, hence the term, flossing. However, today there are numerous easy-to-use tools designed for flossing (e.g., interdental brushes, floss picks). Along with biannual dental cleanings from a dentist in Owensboro or Beaver Dam, Kentucky, daily brushing and flossing are critical aspects of good dental hygiene.
What Makes Flossing So Important?
When food remains trapped between the teeth, harmful bacteria and fungi within the mouth are able to thrive. These microorganisms protect themselves and cling to the teeth by becoming enmeshed within the sticky biofilm (aka plaque) that covers the surface of the teeth. Removing food debris reduces plaque build up, which deprives the bacteria and fungi of the nourishment they need to survive.
Neglecting to floss can lead to a variety of problems:
- Tartar buildup – plaque hardens into tartar. Once hardened, at-home removal is no longer an option. Tartar must be removed by a dental professional who uses a variety of specialized tools. If tartar is not removed, gum disease (aka gingivitis) may result.
- Halitosis – chronic bad breath. Studies indicate that approximately 90% of chronic bad breath results from the volatile sulfurous compounds (VSCs) that the anaerobic bacteria in the mouth release.
- Dental caries (aka cavities) – as a tooth’s hard outer layer (i.e., enamel) sustains damage (i.e., decays), its structure weakens and breaks away. This damage is referred to as a cavity. Without restorative treatment from a dentist in Owensboro or Beaver Dam, Kentucky, the damaged tooth may become infected. At this point, the individual will most likely begin experiencing pain.
- Gum disease – tartar buildup can contribute to swollen, red, sensitive gum tissue that bleeds. The damage that the first stage of gum disease, which is referred to as gingivitis, causes is reversible. Nonetheless, if treatment for gum disease is not sought, once an individual develops periodontitis, any damage the disease causes is permanent.
- Cardiac problems – the bacteria responsible for causing the gingival tissue to swell may be able to enter the bloodstream via an opening in the tissue. Once in the bloodstream, these bacteria can contribute to inflammation in other areas of the body, including the heart.
If you are in the Beaver Dam or Owensboro, Kentucky, area, and you are concerned about your dental health, contact Dr. Travis Wilson today. To schedule an appointment at Dr. Wilson’s dental office in Owensboro, Kentucky, please call (270) 926-6040 or for an appointment at his office in Beaver Dam, Kentucky, office, please call (270) 274-3645.