Dental Floss: Everything You Need to Know | Riverside, CA

flossingAs important as oral health is to our overall well-being, we really have a lax stance on participating to our fullest potential. One of the least favorite of these little dental chores is flossing. Not only did a survey conducted by the American Dental Association revealed that more adult would rather do something they find awful than floss, but the amount of times they floss is the biggest lie dentists hear on a day-to-day basis. But why do we find it so similar to our own daily torture? It’s the forgotten hygiene. Either we’re too busy or we are too lazy, but flossing has become the “Do I have to?” of the dental world. And unfortunately, flossing is much more important than we think.

Flossing is merely the act of wrapping a piece of string around your teeth, one by one, in order to remove any bacteria and excess material stuck between each tooth. In its conception, floss was made from strands of silk (fancy!), but nowadays it comes from thin filament cord. There are varying thicknesses and varieties to choose from, depending on preference. Some are waxed, some are electric or water-based. There are also handy tools available on the market that help facilitate you in flossing properly, whether you need help reaching all of your teeth or working your way around complicated dental work, like braces. So no matter your reason for avoiding the floss, it isn’t a good one.

Even the process itself is relatively simple. Cut yourself a piece of floss about 18 inches long. Wrap both sides around your fingers until you have a good two inches separating either side. Pull it taut between your thumb and index finger and guide the floss in between each tooth. With a downward zigzag motion, slide the floss around each tooth in a curved motion, reminiscent to a shoe shine fella’s rag. What you’re trying to do is gently scrub down all the space between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach.

Now beyond that, there aren’t a whole lot of rules. Use a new area of floss for every tooth, don’t snap or flick the floss between your teeth (it isn’t good for your teeth and it’s gross), and always use a new piece each time you floss. No particular order necessary to do it right. Work from top to bottom or vice versa. Floss before you brush your teeth or after. You just want to get the cleanest mouth you possibly can each time you clean those pearly whites so that bacteria can’t glom onto your teeth and give you cavities or some other kind of gum disease while you aren’t looking. Preventative measures lead to fewer emergency dental visits.

For more information about flossing or other aspects of general dentistry call Dr. Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or visit www.gmdental.com.

Dr. Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and all surrounding areas.

Why No One Wants Gingivitis | Riverside, CA

dental fearGingivitis is one of those words a patient absolutely dreads hearing come out of their dentist’s mouth. You’ve basically just told your dentist that you have poor oral care habits and prefer to skip out on regular dental visits. It can’t get any more embarrassing, am I right? But why? Why is it such a bad thing? Because if you really think about it, you don’t really even know what it is. Let’s meet the periodontal disease known as gingivitis…

Gingivitis is inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth and is most commonly a result of poor dental hygiene. Gingivitis is a very common condition and varies widely in severity. It is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when teeth are brushed or flossed. Gingivitis is not the same thing as periodontitis, although sometimes a person may be affected by both. Gum disease is mostly caused by improper oral hygiene that allows bacteria in plaque and calculus to remain on the teeth and infect the gums.

But there are other factors that increase the risk of developing gingivitis. Some of the most common risk factors are as follows:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco prevents the gum tissue from being able to heal.
  • Crooked, rotated, or overlapping teeth create more areas for plaque and calculus to accumulate and are harder to keep clean.
  • Hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause typically correlate with a rise in gingivitis. The increase in hormones causes the blood vessels in the gums to be more susceptible to bacterial and chemical attack.
  • Cancer and cancer treatment can make a person more susceptible to infection and increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Stress impairs the body’s immune response to bacterial invasion.
  • Mouth breathing can be harsh on the gums when they aren’t protected by the lips, causing chronic irritation and inflammation.
  • Poor nutrition, such as a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in water intake, will increase the formation of plaque. Also, a deficiency of important nutrients such as vitamin C will impair healing.
  • Diabetes mellitus impairs circulation and the gums ability to heal.
  • Medications such as anti-seizure medications promote gum disease.

So, what causes us to get this site oral health issue? Gingivitis forms when food particles mixes with saliva and bacteria-plaque forms that then sticks to the surfaces of teeth. If dental plaque and tartar aren’t removed by brushing with toothpaste and flossing, it can become mineralized and form tartar. Tartar is very hard and can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning, which is why dental check-ups are so necessary. Untreated tarter can lead to major and costly dental problems.

Plaque and tartar are filled with harmful bacteria, and if they aren’t removed from teeth, they will begin to irritate the gums and cause gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis will often extend from the gums to the bone and lead to periodontitis. When the underlying bone gets infected, it will start to recede away from the teeth and form deep gum pockets. These pockets collect plaque and bacteria as they are very difficult to keep clean, and more bone loss occurs. As periodontal disease progresses into later stages and more bone tissue is lost, the teeth may eventually become loose and fall out.

For more information about gingivitis or other gum disease, call Dr. Middleton in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or visit www.gmdental.com.

Dr. Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and all surrounding areas.