10 Nov Brushing and Flossing Do More Than Just Clean Teeth
Brushing and flossing daily are an essential part of overall dental health, but these behaviors do more than simply clean teeth. A toothbrush is designed to scrub the surfaces of teeth and provide gentle gum stimulation while removing food particles and plaque from the gumline, if brushing with good technique. Flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from between teeth, and also stimulates the gums along the gumline. When done properly and daily, brushing and flossing can make dentist visits quite pleasant.
Foods and beverages consumed daily contain varying amounts of acidic substances. Acidic substances weaken tooth enamel and when the enamel is weakened, bacteria have a chance to establish a stronghold in teeth and develop into dental caries, also known as cavities. Foods and beverages containing deep pigments such as coffee, tea, wine, and berries, seep into the surfaces of teeth and create stains. Regular brushing helps limit the stains that develop and improve results when professional whitening treatments are sought.
The use of fluoride toothpaste enables brushing to better clean the surfaces of teeth, while strengthening tooth enamel for protection against dental caries. The toothpaste is also designed to fight bacteria in the mouth. When bacteria have a chance to grow and cultivate, dental caries is only one side effect. Halitosis, or bad breath, is also a sign of bacteria build-up in the mouth, and over time the bacteria can lead to gum disease such as gingivitis. Gingivitis, if not treated early and effectively, can worsen to more advanced stages of periodontal disease and a host of serious oral health problems.
During routine visits, the dentist inspects the oral cavity and surrounding structures to help catch signs of trouble early for greater prognosis. Halitosis can indicate the presence of deeper health issues. Research suggests that some cases of bad breath are linked to conditions involving the lungs, which is especially prominent in smokers. Periodontal disease rarely improves on its own, and when given time to develop, the disease spreads to the bloodstream leading to increased risk of heart disease and other health problems. Engaging in twice-daily brushing, and daily flossing, significantly improves both oral and overall health.
For more information or to schedule your next dental exam, contact the office of Dr. Mark E. Massaro at 918-779-3399.