The Importance of Dental Flossing

A recent article published by the New York Times, ‘Feeling Guilty About Not Flossing? Maybe There’s No Need’ has spread on social media and is causing people to ask “do I really need to floss?”. Though the idea of skipping your daily flossing habit may seem appealing, we believe that it’s not a good idea.
Flossing is after all, the most effective way to remove food debris and plaque from between the teeth. Leaving this plaque or food debris will cause bacteria to multiple and can eventually cause interproximal tooth decay. Another option for cleaning between your teeth is to use a water pik device. By spraying water between the teeth, the water pik can wash away food debris and bacteria. Even still, dental floss is more effective in removing the plaque from the teeth. However, water pik’s have proven to be very helpful for patients who struggle with dexterity and for patients who wear braces.
The results of not flossing can vary by patient. Some patients will begin to form tooth decay which will require fillings or crowns to correct. In other patients, their periodontal health will decline. If a patient does not keep their gums clean and healthy the gum tissue will appear inflamed. They may begin to form deep pockets in the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth. If left untreated, the bacteria collecting in those pockets will begin to create bone loss, which can lead to tooth loss.
Fortunately there are now great replacement options for patients who have missing teeth. One of those options are dental implants. When a patient replaces a missing tooth with a dental implant, we place a titanium root replacement in the bone where the tooth was. After healing, a porcelain crown is then bonded to that titanium implant. Dental implants are very natural in appearance and can be brushed and flossed normally. Another common tooth replacement option is a fixed bridge. A fixed bridge is a series of crowns that are fabricated as one. We are able to use the teeth on either side on the missing tooth to support a suspended false crown, which fills the space where the missing tooth once was.
While we are glad to have tooth replacement options to offer our patients, we realize that most patients would prefer to keep their natural teeth. The best way to do that is by brushing twice a day and flossing daily. It’s also very important to maintain minimal sugar in your diet and to avoid excessive acidic foods and drinks.

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