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What Are the Benefits of Flossing Your Teeth?

What Are the Benefits of Flossing Your Teeth? 

 

As we’ve discussed before, brushing teeth twice a day is essential for good oral hygiene. However, brushing alone may not protect you from cavities and gum disease. No matter how well you brush your teeth and what kind of toothbrush you use, there is alway plaque stuck between the teeth that cannot be removed completely with toothbrush. Flossing helps to prevent tooth decay and gum disease by removing plaque buildup between the teeth. Combined with brushing and using a rinse daily, you could keep your smile healthy and beautiful for life. Besides improving oral health, flossing has another benefit. It can help you lose weight. How could that be possible? Brushing and flossing after eating can make you less tempted to snack because you wouldn’t want to have food stuck to your cleaned teeth and have to brush and floss again. 


It takes practice to be able to floss correctly. It may feel clumsy in the beginning, but don’t give up! It takes time to get the hang of it. There are several tips that may help you:


  • If you have sensitive teeth and gums that bleed easily, choose a soft floss that slides easily and comfortably between the teeth. 
  • If you have braces, try a specialized floss ( e.g. Superfloss) that has a stiff end that makes it easy for you to thread the floss beneath the wire of your braces. 
  • If you have difficulty handling floss, try an electric flosser. 


Our team would love to answer your questions about flossing. Feel free to contact us or ask your hygienist when you come here for your preventive care visit. 

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Why Do We Need to Brush Our Teeth?

Toothbrush

Have your ever pondered on the reasons why we need to brush our teeth? Today's blog will cover the reasons behind the recommendation. 

Good oral care is part of a healthy lifestyle. It's easy to keep your teeth and gums in good health. A simple routine of daily teeth cleaning, good eating habits and regular dental visits can help prevent tooth decay (cavities) and gum disease.

How does brushing teeth prevent tooth decay and gum disease?

Your teeth are covered with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. After a meal or snack, these bacteria convert the sugar in foods into acids. These acids attack the enamel, the tooth's hard outer layer. Plaque can also build up overnight while you are sleeping. Repeated attacks can cause the enamel to break down and lead to cavities.

If you brush twice a day and floss once a day, you can remove most of the harmful plaque and bacteria. But if plaque stays on the teeth, it will eventually harden into tartar. Tartar can build up near the gum line. Since tartar is more difficult to brush or floss away, it gives the bacteria a place to grow without being disturbed.

Plaque that is not removed can also irritate and inflame your gums, making them swell or bleed. This is called gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. The good news is that gingivitis can be reversed with professional dental cleaning and good oral hygiene at home.

If gum disease is left untreated, it can cause your gums to pull away from the teeth. Pockets or spaces can form between the teeth and gums. These pockets can become infected. In advanced stages of gum disease, bone loss can occur and teeth may become loose, fall out or have to be pulled.

You may prevent both tooth decay and gum disease by always remembering to brush twice a day and floss daily. It is much easier and less expensive to prevent tooth decay and gum disease than to treat them!

 

Sources: Ada.org

Photo: Unsplash.com 

A Healthy Diet Keeps Your Mouth Healthy

Eating a well-balanced diet may improve your chances of avoiding diseases like heart disease, type II diabetes, and oral diseases, like cavities.

For teeth to be healthy, they need vitamins, protein, calcium, and phosphorous - and you can get them all from a healthy diet.

Healthy Diet Healthy Mouth

A healthy diet is one that:

  • includes a variety of whole fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains, like brown rice and oatmeal.
  • adds different protein sources such as lean meats, beans, eggs, poultry, fish, cheese and Greek yogurt.
  • is low in saturated fats, trans fats, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
  • is well-balanced and based on eating foods in amounts according to your specific height, age, weight, gender and activity level.

  • You cannot and should not remove all sugar from your diet. Many foods and drinks - like apples, carrots, and milk - naturally contain sugars and have key vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your body needs. Avoiding foods that contain a lot of sugar but few other nutrients will lower your chance of developing cavities and has other health benefits, too!

Other Tips for Lowering Your Risk of Cavities

  • Avoid sugary drinks when possible. Many sports and energy drinks as well as sodas and sweetened teas all have a lot of sugar. Even fruit juices that are "100% juice" are high in sugar.
  • Limit snacks between meals. Choose foods that are low in sugar and fat, like an apple or handful of almonds. Try to follow-up with a glass of water. This can help rinse bits of food in your mouth, but it does NOT replace brushing and flossing regularly.
  • If you have sugary foods and drinks, have them with meals. Saliva increases during meals which helps weaken acid and rinse bits of food from your mouth.
  • Chew sugarless gum that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Chewing gum after meals has been shown to increase saliva and can help reduce cavities.
  • Drink water. Drinking tap water with fluoride can help prevent cavities.
  • See your dentist regularly.

Source: ada.org
Picture: Pexels.com 

What and How Often You Eat Can Affect Your Teeth

Food loaded with sugar

Sip and Snack All Day? Risk Decay!

  • Do you sip soft drinks or other sugary drinks (even coffee or tea with milk and sugar) all day at your desk?
  • Do you use breath mints or eat candy often?
  • Instead of eating meals, do you snack all day?
  • Do you often grab a soda, sports or energy drink when you are tired?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be increasing your chances of developing cavities.

Certain eating patterns and food choices can lead to tooth erosion (ee-ROW-shun) and cavities. A steady supply of sugary foods and drinks, including sports drinks, sodas and energy drinks, can damage your teeth. Even snacking on healthy foods like oranges and dried fruit all day long can increase your risk of erosion and cavities. Here's why:

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. When you do not remove plaque from your teeth every day, it builds up. The bacteria in plaque create acid from eating the sugars found in what you eat and drink. This acid attacks enamel (e-NAM-uhl), the hard surface of the tooth. The acid stays on the enamel for up to 20 minutes after you are finished eating and drinking. Eventually, the enamel can wear away from these acids and cavities can start to form. Cavities do not go away on their own and must be treated by a dentist.

When you have sugary foods or drinks many times a day or over a long time, it exposes the enamel of your teeth to acid attacks throughout the day. This raises your risk of tooth erosion and getting cavities.

Source: American Dental Association 

Photo: Pexels.com