Q&A On Gum Disease For National Flossing Day
The day after Thanksgiving is one of our favorite days of the year — National Flossing Day. Maybe it’s because we’re dentists, but we think this is a great opportunity to remind you what you should do to fight gum disease.
We’ve put together a short list of frequently asked questions to remind you what you should do to protect your gums.
▶︎ Do I really need to floss between my teeth?
Yes, you should continue to clean between your teeth and gums at least once per day.
We know there were some headlines in the news about flossing not helping with gum disease. If you read the stories, then you saw that they were questioning the way studies have been done regarding flossing.
In the studies that were more controlled, such as one where dental professionals did the flossing for children five days per week at school, those students had fewer cavities and fewer cases of gum disease than their peers.
▶︎ Why should I floss between my teeth?
Everyone gets particles of food stuck between their teeth sometimes, although sometimes these pieces are too small to see. The bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease use the sugars in those food particles to grow. If you have more bacteria, then you are more likely you to develop oral health problems.
Flossing is a way to remove those food particles that can’t be removed by brushing alone.
▶︎ Are there any alternatives to dental floss?
Yes, there are. We know some people find dental floss uncomfortable or difficult to use.
One option is to use flossers. This can be found near the dental floss in most toothpaste aisles. Flossers have short handles with a short piece of floss threaded into an opening at the other end. Many people find flossers more comfortable to use than dental floss.
Another option is a water flosser. These devices spray a stream of water that can be used to clean the spaces you can’t get to with a toothbrush.
▶︎ What are the symptoms of gum disease?
Bleeding and red, swollen gums are signs of mild gum disease (gingivitis).
The symptoms of advanced gum disease (periodontitis) include:
▪︎ Sore, tender gums
▪︎ Constant bad breath
▪︎ Pus leaking from your gums
▪︎ Gums that are pulling away from your teeth (receding gums)
▪︎ Loose teeth
For what it’s worth, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.
▶︎ How can periodontal disease be treated?
Flossing can help reverse the symptoms of gingivitis, but it won’t help if you already have periodontitis. In that case, you should call Hubbard & Leath Dental right away.
We have non-surgical gum disease treatments such as scaling and root planing that can remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar buildup from the roots of your teeth.