You may have seen recent articles saying that you no longer need to floss your teeth as there isn’t enough evidence to show that flossing helps reduce the risk of cavities. So does that mean you can toss the floss and forget about daily flossing forever? Your dentist in Sparks says: Not so fast. While the limited study shows skeptical results on flossing’s correlation with cavities, there are still plenty of reasons you should floss your teeth every day.
Not Flossing = Not Thoroughly Cleaning
Your dentist Sparks recommends brushing your teeth every day. It’s also recommended that you floss every day. Why? Well, you see, if you only brush your teeth, you’re missing out on cleaning about 35% of each tooth. In fact, there’s more to teeth than just the front, back, and chewing surface. There are also sides and a top. The only way to remove bacteria and plaque buildup from those areas is to floss in between each and every tooth, each and every day.
More On Plaque
Plaque naturally builds up on our teeth throughout the day, but it’s important to remove this plaque before it has a chance to harden into tartar. To remove the plaque effectively, you must both brush and floss. Once plaque hardens into tartar, it isn’t something that can be removed at home with regular brushing. It will need to be removed at your next appointment with your dentist in Sparks. But that’s not all.
One of the main reasons why flossing is so important is to protect teeth against the dangers of gum disease. When food particles, bacteria, and plaque are left lingering between teeth, it can cause inflammation. This inflammation is usually recognized by bleeding gums, and bleeding gums is never normal and is usually a sign of a bigger problem. Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, is almost always first detected when the gums bleed during brushing or flossing. The good news is that gingivitis can be reversed if caught and treated early. However, when gingivitis isn’t treated promptly, it can develop into gum disease.
Gum disease is a serious oral health problem that affects both oral health and overall health. The longer it’s left alone the more likely it is to lead to complications, such as:
- Heart Disease
- Respiratory Disease
- Tooth Loss
Not Flossing is Common
More than 30% of Americans don’t floss every day, so if you’re one of them please know you’re not alone. It’s important to be honest with yourself and your dentist in Sparks about your flossing habits so your treatment is thorough and catered to you.
Be a Floss Boss
Even though some studies may suggest no link between flossing and protection against cavities, we do know that flossing can help protect against gum disease. This makes flossing a crucial part of everyone’s oral hygiene routine. However, choosing the best floss for you may take some time to find. After all, there are several flossing options to choose from, including:
- Waxed or Unwaxed String Floss
- Floss Picks
- Dental Tape
- Water Flosser
The most important thing to consider when choosing floss is to find something that you’ll use daily.
If you have questions about picking the right floss or understanding why it’s important to floss in the first place, contact your dentist to schedule an appointment.
National Women’s Health Week is celebrated the entire week of Mother’s Day and is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. Its purpose is to remind women and girls of all ages to make their health a priority. Your dentist in Sparks wants to do our part by dedicating this blog to the strong women of our practice and our community and by taking the opportunity to share a bit about the unique dental care women need during every age and stage of life.
How Hormones Hamper Oral Health
All women know that their lives are full of changes, particularly hormonal changes, that can affect them at different stages. While many people associate hormonal changes with emotions and mood (among other things), your dentist in Sparks wants you to know that hormones can also affect your oral health and put you at increased risk for gum disease and other oral health problems.
Pre-teens and younger teenage women start their hormonal journey with puberty. Puberty usually begins between age 8 and 14, although it can vary from person to person. While the body will go through a lot of changes during this time, one of the largest changes is not visible — hormonal changes. These fluctuations in hormones are to thank for changes in emotions and mood, but they can also increase estrogen levels as well as progesterone levels. The increase in these hormones can often increase blood flow in the mouth, particularly concentrating on the gums. This can cause young women to have red, swollen gums that often bleed during brushing or flossing. If this happens, it’s incredibly important to keep brushing and flossing regularly to remove bad bacteria. If you’re concerned about bleeding gums, see your dentist in Sparks.
Once a woman begins her menstrual cycle, hormones will continue to rise and fall each month. She may also still have red, swollen gums that bleed – usually a few days before her period. Canker sores are also common during this time. Typically, the bleeding gums and canker sores will go away on their own. If they don’t, see your dentist. Hormonal changes during menstruation can also cause dry mouth. Dry mouth has been linked to bad breath as well as cavities.
If a woman decides to become pregnant, it’ll be even more important to take care of her teeth. After all, poor oral health during pregnancy has been linked to premature births, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. Brushing and flossing every night is also incredibly important for a mom-to-be since pregnancy gingivitis is also a common side effect of hormonal changes. Pregnant women should visit their dentist in Sparks during the second trimester or if they experience a dental concern.
Once a woman is past her childbearing years and enters menopause, she will once again experience shifts in hormones. Menopause usually happens between 45 and 55, and during this time, estrogen levels decrease. This loss of estrogen can put a woman at risk for osteoporosis and bone loss. The bone loss can easily affect the jaw bone and put teeth at increased risk of falling out. But don’t worry, even if natural teeth fall out, they can be replaced with dentures, dental implants, or other dental treatments.
We care for the health of our entire community, women and men alike, and strive to do everything we can during each stage of life to get and keep mouths and bodies healthy. Don’t hesitate to schedule a visit with us today.