The Benefits & Limits Of Flossing

  • September 9, 2016

If you follow the news, then you may have seen a story or two with headlines proclaiming that flossing is not necessary.
We want to discuss the value of flossing and how it can help to in the fight against gum disease. We encourage you to continue to make brushing and flossing a part of your daily hygiene routine.
At the same time, our dentists can help you at any Beaumont Family Dentistry in Lexington, KY, if you do develop periodontal problems.

The Benefits Of Flossing
We want to state up front that flossing is not a cure-all for any and all oral health problems that you may experience.
However, it can help prevent and reverse the effects of gingivitis. This is considered a mild form of gum disease.
The symptoms of gingivitis include red and swollen gums (a result of inflammation) and gums that bleed when you brush or flossing. By flossing, you can reduce the inflammation, and the bleeding will stop as your gums get used to the flossing.
If you don’t take steps to treat your gingivitis, it can lead to periodontitis, which is a more advanced form of gum disease.
If nothing else, flossing can dislodge pieces of food that have become stuck in places that you can’t clean with a toothbrush. Specifically, this means removing food particles from between your teeth and below your gumline.
At the same time, it’s important that you floss with the correct technique. Flossing too hard — like brushing too hard — can cause harm. With that in mind, here is a short video from the American Dental Association to demonstrate the proper way to floss:

What Flossing Can’t Do
Earlier we mentioned periodontitis, the advanced form of gum disease. Flossing is not going to reverse this once it has taken hold in your gum tissues.
The symptoms of periodontitis include:
◼︎ Lingering bad breath or a constant bad taste in your mouth
◼︎ Tender, sore bleeding gums
◼︎ Receding gums
◼︎ Pain while chewing
◼︎ Pus leaking from your gums
◼︎ Loose teeth
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, we encourage you to call the nearest Beaumont Family Dentistry as soon as you can to make an appointment.
At this point, you are beyond the limits of what a daily hygiene routine can fix.

Treating Periodontitis
By seeking treatment in the early stages of your periodontal disease, your treatment will be less invasive. We emphasize non-surgical gum disease treatment at each of our three locations.
During a routine cleaning, a hygienist will remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth. If you have gum disease, then you may need a deeper cleaning, which is called scaling and root planing.
Scaling and root planing are done to remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar from the roots of your teeth. At our practice, we use ultrasonic scalers. These kinds of scalers use gentle vibrations to loosen the plaque and tartar so it can be removed more easily.
If necessary, we may recommend antibiotic treatments as well. Arestin® is a gel that can be applied to your infected gum tissue. This can kill the bacteria that cause your infection and reduce the risk of a new infection developing.
Lasers are another tool that can remove infected tissue from your mouth. This is preferable to surgical gum treatments.
In the past, infected gum tissue had to be cut away from your mouth. This often required removing healthy tissue to ensure the infection was removed. In addition, this could cause bleeding and extend the time needed to recover from the treatment.
Lasers make the process simpler. Dental lasers effectively evaporate the infected tissue. The laser also will seal your gums. This preserves more of your healthy gum tissue and speeds up your recovery time.

Making An Appointment
If you have not yet scheduled your next dental cleaning and examination, contact any Beaumont Family location to make an appointment.
We would rather take steps to prevent gum disease and other oral health problems. However, we also want to help you treat any periodontal problems before they get worse.
Our three dentist offices are located in Lexington, KY, but we serve families from across Central Kentucky.

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