How Important is Flossing Our Teeth?

Posted on: September 17, 2012

Periodontitis (gum disease) is the most common problems I’ve encountered during the course of my career. I have discovered not many people understand the importance of flossing in preventing gum disease and a long lasting oral health. The recommended daily oral hygiene is brushing the teeth with preferably battery powered toothbrush to remove plaques on flat outer surfaces of teeth. But brushing alone cannot remove plaques and food residues in between the teeth and that’s where we need to floss. When flossing, lean the floss against each tooth surface with the up and down motion to wipe out the plaques. We can floss a hundred times a day if we need to in order to feel clean. THERE IS NO LIMIT TO FLOSSING.

When patients already had periodontitis (gum disease) due to long time professional care neglect, a thorough deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) is needed to be done to remove all the subgingival calculus (tartar) and to restore the smooth surface of the teeth that can now be easily maintained with flossing. When subgingival calculus is present (as to most of gum disease cases), a regular cleaning (prophy) is not recommended because regular cleaning cannot remove subgingival calculus. Hence the patient needs to be numbed up with local anesthetics and each tooth is carefully scaled to remove deep calculus and granulation tissue in the pockets that are caused by calculus. Only after no more calculus present and the gingiva is healthy then a regular six months cleaning can be adequate to maintain oral health.

It is very important to adapt to habit of flossing after dental deep cleaning is done because plaques and calculus can come right back after a few months. So a habit change can bring life long good oral health and also systemic health.

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