The Importance of Flossing to Help Prevent Gum Disease

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Gum Disease, also known as gingivitis, periodontal disease or periodontitis, is an inflammation of the gum tissue that is caused by the excess buildup of bacteria, plaque and tartar. If left untreated, this can have a serious negative impact on the health of your gums as well as the bones that anchor your teeth to your jaw. There is also some research that has found a connection between the systemic inflammation caused by advanced gum disease and conditions like diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.

Brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and abrasive toothpaste with fluoride will go a long way toward removing food particles. At the same time, the biggest cause of periodontal disease comes from plague and tartar buildup at and under the gum line, which is often in places where your toothbrush can’t reach. The ideal tool for cleaning plaque from the gum line is dental floss.

To effectively floss along the gum line, you will need to cut off roughly 16 to 18 inches of floss. Then wrap the excess floss around your middle fingers. Use a firm grip to hold a small section of floss between your thumb and index fingers. Then gently work the floss between your teeth.
Keep in mind that you don’t force the floss between your teeth as this can potentially harm the gums. If you have problems with snapping the floss into your gums, you might want to try using waxed floss.

Work the floss around your teeth in a “U” shape and gently work it into the space between your gum line and the tooth. Carefully use the floss to remove any food particles or unseen plaque from the gums. On larger teeth, like molars, this might require three motions to focus on the rear and front of the gum line.

If you have questions about gum disease or your flossing technique, please call us at 305-443-4713 to schedule an appointment.