The Importance of Flossing

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About Dr. Peter Zwier

For over 30 years, Dr. Peter J. Zwier has been providing a broad range of general and cosmetic dental services to Grand Rapids, meeting the needs of your whole family in one convenient location. Your oral health is extremely important to your body’s wellbeing, and a beautiful smile is a wonderful asset at any age.

We’ve all been told that flossing is an important part of our oral hygiene routine. However, not many people understand why it is so important. Read on to learn about the many benefits of regularly flossing your teeth.

When we brush our teeth, the toothbrush is only cleaning the front and back of the teeth; the sides are being neglected. This is where flossing comes in. Flossing helps to clean the sides of the teeth, preventing the breeding of bacteria which causes plaque. Flossing breaks up the plaque bacteria biofilm on your teeth. If this film is not removed, gum infections, gum disease, and eventual tooth loss may occur.

But what if your gums look and feel fine, even if you don’t floss? Gum infections are sneaky because there is often no pain or visual signs of infection early on. If you floss and notice that your gums are tender or bleed, this is a sign of possible infection. It is not normal for the gums to bleed when you floss! It is important to stop any form of gum infection or disease before it becomes advanced. If gum disease reaches an advanced stage, the teeth will be painful and may even fall out.

The good news is that simply flossing once or twice a day can greatly decrease your chances of gum infections or disease- and that includes children! Kids should begin flossing their teeth, with help, as soon as they grow in two teeth that touch. No one wants their children to have to deal with painful dental issues!

Flossing also helps prevent decay between the teeth. When patients are required to take bitewing X-rays, Dr. Zwier is looking to catch decay between the teeth. These X-rays are the only way to detect decay before it grows, destroys more of the tooth and reaches the pulp chamber, which would then require a root canal. Almost always, these cavities start where there is contact between two teeth. There is no way to get a toothbrush bristle into that area to remove the plaque. The only way to remove plaque in the most susceptible areas is by flossing. In Dr. Zwier’s office, these are known as flossing cavities, which is short for not-flossing or not-enough-flossing cavities.

If you have any questions about flossing, feel free to contact us today at (616) 682-7271. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have!