There are three things you should do every day to protect your smile from cavities and gum disease: brush, floss, and use a mouth rinse. Of these three important habits, the one that people are most likely to avoid is flossing.
Many People Don’t Floss Like They Should
Even though dentists and hygienists have worked hard to inform their patients about the benefits of flossing, surveys tell us that many people still avoid flossing. In fact, “only 35 percent of patients occasionally floss, and only 2 to fifteen percent floss daily.”
Reasons Why People Don’t Floss
Patients resist flossing for several reasons:
- It’s painful
- It’s difficult to reach all parts of their mouth
- It’s not easy to hold the floss
- It’s time-consuming
- They think brushing is good enough
- It causes gums to bleed
What’s an Interdental Cleaner?
Flossing is a type of interdental cleaner. That’s just a fancy way of saying that it removes debris from the spaces in between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. If these particles aren’t removed, they can cause cavities and gum disease.
The Dangers of Gum Disease
More than 75 percent of Americans over the age of 35 are afflicted with gum disease, a serious infection that can have devastating effects on your smile. Gum disease can lead to swelling, bleeding, and the loss of teeth. It’s caused by bacteria that feeds on the plaque and tartar in your mouth.
Plaque is the gooey substance that forms on your teeth after you eat a meal. If it’s not removed through brushing, flossing, and using mouth rinse, plaque will harden and become tartar. Tartar is the rough substance that your dental hygienist scrapes from your teeth during dental cleanings.
What’s an Oral Irrigator?
Oral irrigators are an alternative type of interdental cleaner for people who don’t like to floss. Oral irrigators use water to flush out particles between your teeth. The original oral irrigator is the Waterpik, which was introduced in 1966. Sometimes oral irrigators are also referred to as dental water jets or water flossers.
The Advantages of Oral Irrigators
Oral irrigators provide the following advantages:
- Gentle on your gums
- Scientifically proven to break down plaque
- Easy to use
- Fight gum disease
- Flush out deep pockets in gums infected with gum disease
- Effective to use around braces and dental implants
- Reduce levels of gum inflation
Dental floss and oral irrigators are both effective interdental cleaners. But a lot of people refuse to floss. If you don’t like to floss for whatever reason, maybe you should try an oral irrigator.
Visit Your Dentist in Beverly Hills, MI
Fighting cavities and gum disease is a team effort. You need to do your part by practicing good oral hygiene at home every day. But you should also visit your dentist for checkups at least twice a year. Contact our office to schedule your next appointment if it’s been more than six months since you’ve seen Dr. Winter.