Back 17 October 2016

Why Use Dental Floss

Why Should I floss? Why does my Hygienist keep telling me to floss daily? Why does my Dental Floss smell bad after I've used it? Many questions to answer & all important to your oral hygiene...

Your toothbrush cleans the outer and top surfaces of your teeth but does not clean in between your teeth. Dental Floss reaches the areas a toothbrush can't reach. If you don’t floss you’re not cleaning food debris & bacterial dental plaque off all the surfaces of your teeth - It’s as simple as that.

If you brush your teeth but do not floss your teeth, you are leaving bacteria in the gaps in between your teeth to multiply and cause gum infection gingivitis which can then lead to periodontal disease and eventually premature tooth loss. Dental Bacteria smell - this is why dental floss smells after flossing - it is coated in dental bugs

When Should I Use Dental Floss?

Here at Milford Dentists (and the Amercian Dental Association ) - we recommend you should be using an interdental cleaner (like floss) at least once a day to clean between your teeth - it's an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums.Cleaning between your teeth can help prevent an unnecessary build up of tartar, cavities and gum disease.

The places where the gums and teeth meet are where flossing plays a significant role. Tiny particles of food can get lodged here. Bacteria that live in the mouth eat this food establishing a complex gloopy colony called Dental Plaque. 

Dental Plaque, which is a bit like cottage cheese in consistency, gets so stuck onto teeth after 24 hours that it cannot be removed with a toothbrush or floss. This video below shows how a colony of Dental Plaque builds up into a sophisticated bacterial city over an 8 hour period!

Dental Plaque then hardens and fuses to the tooth over time to form tartar/calculus, a thick deposit that only the hygienist or dentist can remove with a scraper. Tartar build-up can lead to gingivitis: red, swollen gums that are the first stage of gum disease.

It is also a cause of Bad Breath. If left unchecked, the bacteria-laden tartar and plaque can spread even deeper below the gum line, causing periodontitis:  gum disease characterised by severe inflammation. The bone & gum that supports a tooth is eventually destroyed leading to the tooth becoming wobbly & falling out.

There is also a direct link between gum infection and Cardiovascular Disease - This video explains how this bacterial infection affects gums & the heart, arteries & veins.

Read our blog "What Is Gum Disease" for more info

Think of a toothbrush and dental floss as a paint roller and fine paintbrush, respectively. You could paint your living room walls with just one of the tools, but using them together will provide a much more effective result with a finish that completes all the areas.

So to summarise – Keeping your teeth & gums healthy is all about mechanically removing bacteria & food from them. Do this perfectly every day & you will have healthy gums for life.

 Heathy Gums

At Milford Dentists Karen Hobbs, our Dental Hygienist/Therapist & our three dentists, Andrea Clarke, Tristan Barker & Geoff Moulder are here to assess & help with all aspects of gum treatments, from simple scaling and polishing to complex periodontal problems

If you feel your gum problem is causing Bad Breath Halitosis click here for more information on our Fresh Breath Clinic

Posted by Karen

Milford Dentists is proud to help the good people of the North Shore with all their dental requirements; especially in our mission to assess your gums and help you eradicate gum infection/periodontitis - From Devonport and Belmont up through Takapuna, Castor Bay, Mairangi Bay & Browns Bay as well as Albany, Northcote, Hillcrest, the Whangaporoa Peninsula and beyond give us a call - 09 4896575.

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