We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.
We hope you enjoyed spending time with your family and friends. We hope you enjoyed a delicious meal. Whether you had ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, greens, cornbread, or some tasty pumpkin pie, we also hope you remembered to brush and floss your teeth.
The Friday after Thanksgiving is National Flossing Day, which is a good time to remind you of the importance of flossing. We want all our patients at Atlanta West Dentistry in Marietta to keep their mouths healthy and their teeth intact.
(And yes, we know that the day after Thanksgiving is also Black Friday, so have fun shopping.)
You should be flossing
Sure, flossing can keep you from walking around with a piece of corn stuck in your teeth, but it’s more important that saving you from a little embarrassment.
Flossing plays an essential role in keeping your gums, your teeth, and your mouth healthy.
Unhealthy gums can appear red and swollen. They also might bleed easily. Both of these are signs of gum disease, which is also referred to as periodontal disease.
You may know that bacteria live inside your mouth. These bacteria use substances in the things we eat to form plaque, a sticky substance that can build on our teeth and between our teeth and gums.
Brushing your teeth can go a long way toward removing the plaque from the outside of your teeth, but flossing is needed to keep the plaque from between your teeth and away from your gums.
If you allow too much plaque to form, it may become tartar. This is harder, and it may require professional cleaning to remove. It can lead to periodontal disease.
The red, swollen gums, gums that bleed easily, and persistent bad breath are signs of gingivitis. This is the less serious form of gum disease, and it can often be treated by proper oral hygiene.
But it may also lead to periodontitis. This form of gum disease can lead to infections and tooth loss.
Why people don’t floss
Most people brush their teeth every day (hopefully twice and for two minutes each time). Flossing is a different matter.
Nearly half of all Americans don’t floss daily, and around 20 percent never floss ever, according to a recent survey by the American Dental Association.
If you’ve been to the dentist office for a cleaning, your dentist or hygienist knows if you’ve been flossing. They may have even asked you about it. (If they do, they probably already know the answer.)
When your gums are bleeding and swollen, it’s kind of a giveaway.
We realize that flossing is probably not on anyone’s list of most fun things to do, but it should be part of things you actually do.
If you don’t think you’ve ever had food stuck in your teeth, please talk to a family member or close friend. We’re sure they will tell you differently.
You might think that you don’t know the proper way to floss. That’s OK. You aren’t alone. That’s why the ADA made this video, which guides you through the steps of flossing.
Find a floss that works for you. It comes in different flavors and thicknesses and in waxed and unwaxed varieties. You’ll need about 18 inches, which you wrap around your middle fingers. Hold the floss with your thumbs and pointer fingers with about an inch or so between them.
Then, gently rub it up and down between your teeth and against your gums. This is what removes the plaque that your toothbrush can’t reach.
You may be someone who finds dental floss uncomfortable or difficult to use. That’s OK, too. You can get the same benefits from interdental devices like flossers (with small handles and U-shaped heads with a piece of floss between the ends), water irrigators, and soft picks.
If you think flossing hurts or your gums bleed when you do, it’s important to continue flossing. These are signs of the early stages of gum disease. Flossing can remove the cause of the disease, and your gums will become less likely to bleed as long as you make flossing part of your daily routine.
Healthy habits for a healthy mouth
Brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and getting regular exams and cleanings at Atlanta West Dentistry will help you keep your mouth as healthy as possible.