Monday, July 23, 2012
Floss Floss Floss
People frequently tell me they don't floss and don't want to floss. They often state that they don't want to because it requires too much effort. Yes, it is a pain to floss your teeth, but it's even more of a pain to have to wear dentures. They also state that they don't like to floss because their gums hurt or bleed. The truth of the matter is that they hurt and bleed because they don't floss regularly. This will be explained shortly.
Once when I was serving at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina, I worked alongside dozens of dentists. One day I heard the periodontist (a dentist specializing in the supporting structures of teeth) and a Marine have a discussion in the room next to me. The Marine asked the periodontist if flossing was really necessary. The periodontist replied, "you only need to floss the ones you want to keep". That statement made me laugh for quite some time. I often use that line with my patients. My team is probably tired of hearing that joke by now.
So, why is it necessary to floss? I often explain it this way. If you lined up numerous cars front to back and ran them through a car wash, only the top, right and left sides would get clean. The front and back however would not get clean. The same is true for teeth. The surfaces you do not have access to will not get clean. Any surface that isn't cleaned regularly is significantly more at risk into developing into a carious lesion (a cavity). Therfore, when flossing is not done regularly, cavities will form in between the teeth.