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Why Flossing May Not Be Enough To Prevent Gum Disease

By david / May 27, 2011

There is, what I believe to be, a common misconception about flossing our teeth. I am just speaking in general here, you can ask your doctor or hygienist for specific advice, regarding your situation.

Many people think that flossing is going to save them from dreaded gum disease. Perhaps those folks even think that those who get it somehow deserve it because they haven’t been flossing and brushing regularly.

There are so many false concepts wrapped up in that statement that it may take some time to explain it all. First of all, it is important to consider what is more or less a ‘fact’. You can ask any dental professional about this too. Up to 75% of people have some form of gum disease right now.

To put that in perspective, that is three out of every four people. 3 out of 4! Do you really think that 75% of people are not brushing and flossing?

There is no rational conclusion, in my opinion, other than that this is a big problem! While brushing and flossing may work for some, it does not appear to work for everyone. Why is that?

The reason lies in the reality of our human bodies. What works for one person does not always work for another. Medicine talks about ‘treatments’. Very few things are ‘cured’.

Each of us must work to varying degrees to prevent problems. Each of us has a responsibility to find out what amount of work is personally necessary to prevent expensive treatments and dental disease.

Gum disease is not something that you really get rid of. The bacteria remain. It is just a question of how many and what opportunities they have to expand their population.

They are waiting for the right environment to build up to large numbers who can they cause damage to our dental health – both to our teeth and gums – through the excretion of toxic (acidic) waste products.

Your job, as a human being, and there are very, very few who show an immunity to gum disease, is to prevent this from happening. The only aspect that you can control is the daily disruption of plaque. There is that work “plaque” you have probably heard it before.

It is under the plaque that these ‘bad’ bacteria are seriously shielded from oxygen. When this happens they are able to use a form of metabolism called “anaerobic”. The byproduct of anaerobic metabolism by these bacteria are harmful waste products. These products, when they accumulate, can cause dental health problems such as cavities and gum disease.

When you disrupt the plaque, you are allowing oxygen into their environment. They either have to switch back to less harmful ‘aerobic’ metabolism or perish. In either case it is win for your mouth and you.

The problem is that the plaque begins to form again immediately upon disruption. Within 24 to 48 hours, the bacteria are again rapidly reproducing under an oxygen shield.

Besides brushing and flossing, what can you do? There is a device that seems to be helpful, It is called the Hydro Floss. This is a tool that many dentists and hygienists now recommend. I have also talked to many people who have had good luck with it.

One of the measures of the health of your gums, is your periodontal pocket depths. Your hygienist can tell you what they are. Basically, you want to keep them to 3mm and below. People who have trouble with their gum health have reported that they have been able to reduce their pocket depths with the hydrofloss. Again, this is as measured by a qualified hygienist or dentist.

Are there other things that can help too? You bet. Xylitol, the perio-aid and pH balanced oxygenated mouthwash can all be helpful to you. To read more about these, ask your dentist for a copy of the book: What You Should Know about Gum Disease. Or, pick up a copy online or order one from your local book store.

I just spoke in general here. If you have specific questions, be sure to ask your doctor.

In any case, it is important for you to realize that putting your trust solely in flossing may be a mistake. Finding out what it takes for your personally to avoid dental disease and expensive treatments is always a good idea.

About the author

david