August 29, 2018
We’ve all visited the dentist and left with simple oral care advice: “Make sure you’re flossing your teeth every day!” But have you ever wondered why flossing is so important? This simple act does so much more for your teeth and mouth than just removing debris from your last meal. Continue reading to find out why flossing is one of the best things you can do for your oral health, and how a good routine can improve your smile.
What Happens if I Don’t Floss?
Think of flossing as an extension of your toothbrushing routine. Brushing your teeth only removes about 60% of the plaque and tartar that can build up in your mouth daily, which is why flossing picks up the slack—the areas where your toothbrush can’t go. Plaque and tartar build up creates hot zones for bacteria to breed making you more likely to develop an infection, gum disease, or other dental issues. In addition, plaque and tartar can quickly affect how white your smile is.
What is Plaque and Tartar?
Both plaque and tartar are harmful to your gums and teeth. Plaque is a soft and sticky substance that builds up in the gum line. It can be found in between and around your teeth and can be relatively easy to remove by brushing and flossing. You can tell if you have plaque buildup if your teeth don’t feel as smooth as normal when you run your tongue over them. Plaque contains bacteria that will create acids from the sugar you consume, and the acid will eat away at your tooth’s enamel. If this isn’t removed, it can cause cavities.
Tartar is a little more difficult to remove than plaque. Tartar occurs when the plaque on your teeth hardens and is most likely found below or above the gum line. This can lead to receding gums and even gum disease. It can only be removed by a dentist’s office with special tools.
What’s The Best Way to Prevent Plaque and Tartar Buildup?
When assessing your oral health care, think about your teeth individually. They each have 5 surfaces: the front, back, top, and 2 sides. If you’re just brushing and not flossing, you are always leaving 2 sides of each tooth exposed to plaque and tartar. To clean the 2 sides of each tooth, you must floss at least once a day. Plaque can start building up immediately after you remove it which is why it is so important to floss. If you can prevent plaque buildup, then there’s no chance it can form into hard tartar.
Now that you know why flossing is so important, heed your dentist’s advice when they tell you to floss once a day. Plaque is constantly finding a way into your mouth and the only way to prevent more serious dental issues is to remove plaque before it becomes tartar.
Meet The Dentist
Dr. Katie Montgomery has been caring for Ohio patients since 2011 at Montgomery Family Dental where she specializes in preventive care. She is constantly updating her dental skills through continuing education where she stays up-to-date on all the latest technologies and techniques that are available today in dentistry. For any additional questions or comments, she can be reached by phone at (937) 642-1151.
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