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“Are you flossing regularly?” is probably a question you get asked every single time you visit the dentist. And that’s because it’s important! Many people hate the feeling of moving a piece of floss between their teeth, and therefore leave flossing out of their daily teeth cleaning routine. But just brushing your teeth often isn’t enough to remove plaque and prevent cavities. Helping you maintain a healthy smile by protecting your teeth and gums and protecting you from other diseases, here’s why flossing needs to be a part of your daily routine.

Why isn’t brushing enough?

The tooth has 5 surfaces, but your toothbrush can only reach 3 of them. The two untouched surfaces are very close to the sides of other teeth, making it easy for food to get trapped in between. When food gets stuck in these gaps, it creates a breeding ground for bacteria to build up, creating plaque. This is where floss comes in handy – as an interdental cleaning tool, it can get into these tight spaces and remove 80% of plaque.

Protect your gums

When you neglect flossing, plaque and bacteria can easily build up. If they are not removed properly the bacteria will eventually begin to irritate gum tissue, and this will get worse as bacteria increases. When left untreated, this can eventually cause Gingivitis – a periodontal disease that causes red and puffy gums to bleed easily.

And your teeth

As well as causing irritation, the bacteria between your teeth will also destroy your tooth’s enamel, causing a cavity. Flossing will remove this plaque to prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria. Regularly flossing is a great way to check your mouth for potential cavities, as well as swelling or redness. It will also make your teeth look brighter by removing plaque and excess food that you may not spot in a mirror.

Protects from other diseases

If left untreated, bacteria in an unhealthy mouth can harm the rest of your body. Gingivitis can enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body, leading to heart disease, diabetes and respiratory illnesses. Flossing only takes a couple of minutes out of your day, but will have huge benefits on your long-term health.

Good for your overall health

We understand that brushing your teeth after each meal may not be convenient, but flossing after a meal is easy and can be done anywhere. Not only does regular flossing help you practice good oral hygiene, but it can also help you maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, as flossing after eating will make you less tempted to snack.

Dentists recommend that you should floss once a day, the best time being in the evenings after you brush to remove any food and plaque at the end of the day. If you are concerned about dental diseases or have noticed any sensitivity or changes to your teeth, please book an appointment with Whistler Dental.

Cavities are very common in both adults and children. In fact, tooth decay is the world’s second most prevalent disease, after the common cold. We hope that none of our patients ever have to experience the pain and inconvenience of a cavity. However, if you do get a cavity in your lifetime, it’s important to know what to expect. Cavities give many warning signs before progressing to the next stage. We’ve outlined the life cycle of a cavity, so that you can spot one developing, and prevent it from causing serious damage.

#1 The early signs of decay

Tooth decay is caused when enamel is worn down by acid in the mouth. Smoking, regularly consuming acidic drinks and sugary foods, and irregular dental check-ups all increase the likeliness of dental decay. When you don’t practice good oral hygiene, the sugars on your teeth build up, and bacteria begins to feed off them and produce acid. These bacteria, food particles and saliva combine to form plaque and dull spots on the surface of the tooth.

At this stage, so long as you practice regular cleaning and good oral hygiene, it’s fairly easy to get rid of this plaque and stop these dull spots from forming into a cavity.

#2 The damage of a tooth

The plaque starts to thin as the enamel wears away. Eventually this hole will go deep enough to break the enamel surface and expose the dentin underneath. This is when the hole officially becomes a cavity. From here, the tooth will decay more rapidly, and the cavity will get larger and deeper. Cavities at this stage usually aren’t painful. This is why regular check-ups are essential, as often you won’t know if a cavity is developing.

#3 The beginning of pain

After the tooth erodes the enamel, it starts to erode the dentin. This will bring the nerve of the tooth closer to the surface, and will make your tooth extremely sensitive. As soon as you feel discomfort you should visit your dentist. As long as the decay hasn’t gotten past all of the dentin, you can still repair the tooth with a filling.

#4 The start of infection

If food and bacteria get caught in a cavity, it can be difficult to get them out. If these food particles stay in the tooth for too long, it can lead to infection – of both the tooth and of the surrounding bone. As you can imagine, this is incredibly painful! If this happens you should visit your dentist immediately to clear up the infection. A root canal – or even tooth extraction – might have to be performed as a last resort.

#5 The final treatment

As you can see, it’s far better to get treated for a cavity early on. While small cavities can be easily dealt with, large ones require much more extensive treatment, and end up being more painful and expensive for you. The best way to prevent cavities is by sticking to a good oral hygiene routine, and by visiting your dentist regularly. If you are experiencing any pain, or if it’s about time for a checkup, book your appointment with Whistler Dental today.