Good oral care is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and a few small habit changes could help keep your smile looking great and your body healthy for the long haul. Good flossing habits, for instance, will not only help you maintain great looking teeth and gums, but it could also help you remove potentially harmful bacteria that could do a lot of damage.

While you might think you only need to floss when you can see something stuck in your teeth, remember that bacteria and food particles can be quite small, so go ahead and floss daily in order to get some of these awesome health benefits. 

How Flossing Helps Your Smile

When you floss, you are removing pieces of food particles and plaque that your toothbrush cannot reach. Plaque, if not removed, begins to harden and turn into a substance called tartar. Tartar is very hard to remove, and in fact, brushing and flossing are not sufficient enough to do the job. At that point, your dentist has to scrape the unsightly and damaging substance off with special tools.

How Flossing Prevents Tooth Decay

Beyond just keeping your teeth looking whiter, flossing can actually help prevent your teeth from decaying all together. As stated above, flossing removes plaque and other bacteria from your mouth by reaching in places your toothbrush cannot access. These food particles that get stuck in your teeth have substances, like sugars, that produce an acidic reaction in your mouth. This acid is very bad for your teeth and can cause tooth decay.

While there are stages of tooth decay, after a certain point, your body cannot produce enough minerals to fight it, and the decay then becomes irreversible and can only be repaired by a dental professional. This is why flossing daily and brushing with fluoride toothpaste is your best defense against tooth decay. 

How Flossing Prevents Heart Disease

Recently, there have been many studies linking dental care to your general health. Because your body is like a walking ecosystem, one part is affected by and responds to another part when it is damaged.

When infection starts to develop in your mouth, your body reacts. Because periodontal disease causes an influx of inflammatory substances, blood clots are more likely to form, which can do damage to your heart from the slowed blood flow.

You must also consider that, as infection develops in your mouth and you swallow saliva throughout the day, you are likely ingesting that same bacteria that caused the oral infection. So as that bacteria starts cycling through the rest of your body, it can cause issues in places besides your mouth. 

How Flossing Keeps Your Gums Healthy

Beyond just keeping your teeth looking great, gum health is a huge part of oral care. Many people hesitate to floss because of their sensitive gums, and while you should always consult your dentist if you have concerns about your oral care, it is possible that flossing will actually strengthen your gums.

Flossing removes bacteria causing plaque from your teeth, which helps prevent a condition called gingivitis. This basically refers to inflammation of the gums and is very treatable if addressed early. However, if it goes untreated and you continue to let the bacteria and plaque build up by not brushing twice and flossing once daily, you will likely begin experiencing the pains of periodontal disease which is much harder and much more expensive to repair.

Have questions about the best way to prevent gingivitis and decay? Contact the office of Larry D. Molenda, D.D.S., a San Marcos dentist, to learn how we can help!

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