Gum Disease and Tooth Decay Prevention: All you have to do is FLOSS!

Are you flossing every day?  If not, here are a few reasons to convince you to get started! Most people do not realize that flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth.  It has to become a part of your daily routine and this is why:

Flossing in between your teeth is essential for avoiding periodontal disease as well as preventing tooth decay. Periodontal disease (gum disease) is one of the main causes of tooth loss in adults and can be easily prevented by flossing. It has been estimated that 75% of Americans have some form of gum disease, which has been linked to serious health complications and causes various dental problems that are often avoidable.

What is Gum Disease?

Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is mainly caused by bacteria from plaque and tartar build up. Other factors that have the potential to cause gum disease may include:

  • Tobacco use
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Certain medications
  • Genetics

Types of Gum Disease Include:

  • Gingivitis – The beginning stage of gum disease and is often undetected. This stage of the disease is reversible.
  • Periodontitis – Untreated gingivitis may lead to this next stage of gum disease. With many levels of periodontitis, the common outcome is chronic inflammatory response, a condition when the body breaks down the bone and tissue in the infected area of the mouth, ultimately resulting in tooth and bone loss.

Signs of Gum Disease Include:

  • Red, bleeding, and/or swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Mobility of the teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity caused by receding gums
  • Abscessed teeth
  • Tooth loss

Recent studies suggest gum disease may contribute to or be warning signs of potentially life threatening conditions such as:

  • Heart Disease and Stroke – Studies suggest gingivitis may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke because of the high levels of bacteria found in infected areas of the mouth. As the level of periodontal disease increases, the risk of cardiovascular disease may increase with it. Other studies have suggested that the inflammation in the gums may create a chronic inflammation response in other parts of the body which has also been implicated in increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is caused by plaque, which is the sticky substance that forms on and in between the teeth. If the plaque isn’t removed, it combines with the sugars and / or starches of the foods that we eat to produce an acid that attacks tooth enamel. Brushing removes plaque from the surfaces of the teeth, but only flossing can remove plaque that accumulates in between the teeth.

Signs of Tooth Decay Include:

  • Irritated Gums- When the gums are irritated, they bleed easily and become red and tender. If the plaque is not removed from in between the teeth with dental floss, the gums can eventually start to pull away from the teeth. When this happens, bacteria and pus-filled pockets can form and the bone that supports the teeth can be destroyed. Once the bone is destroyed, the teeth will loosen or have to be removed.
  • Cavities – Tooth decay usually does not cause symptoms until you have a cavity or an infected tooth. When this occurs, a toothache is the most common symptom.

Flossing your teeth is essential in preventing gum disease and tooth decay.  For basic instructions on how to floss CLICK HERE!

Contact J.C. Duncan Family Dentistry if you think you may have any of these symptoms.  We can help treat these conditions and even reverse their effects.

103 Commerce Center Drive Suite 101
Huntersville, NC 28078
(704) 948-1300

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