Most people brush their teeth every day, Mobile Dentist, Dr. Krempa says. They want to have better health and get good checkups at dental visits. Many people will perform this important hygiene procedure without thinking about the purpose of the activity. The point of cleaning our teeth is to disturb the bacteria that cause oral diseases. These bacteria commonly form a biofilm that is very difficult to remove, yet can be disturbed by the mechanical action of tooth brushing and the chemical action of toothpastes and mouth rinses. Typical problem areas that cause disease are around the gum line, in the grooves of teeth, and at the point of where teeth contact. By disrupting these bacteria every 24 hours, most diseases can be eliminated. The end result is no cavities and no gum disease.
The toothbrush mechanically scrapes the tooth clean Dr. Krempa noticed after years of study. With this in mind, teeth have 5 surfaces exposed to bacteria. Two of the surfaces, the mesial and the distal surface, are in contact. In other words, only 60% of our tooth structure is exposed to the toothbrush. No toothbrush can fully clean the smooth surfaces of our teeth because teeth contact. Since most teeth physically touch, the point at which the teeth touch, called the contact point, blocks the bristles from reaching the area in which many cavities are formed. The bristle cannot reach this area and leaves these bacteria undisturbed. Using floss is the only way to disrupt the bacteria that become dangerous to humans, which are the bacteria that are called pathogenic.
Many patients will tell Mobile, Al dentist, Dr. Krempa, that they do not floss, but instead they use Listerine or Act. Even though mouth rinses can flush out spaces between our teeth, the lasting effect of these chemicals is limited. The problematic bacteria will quickly replicate and begin sending signals to other bacteria to re-colonize and infect otherwise healthy mouths. Mouthrinses are good aids and adjuncts, but the mechanical debridement of floss is critical.
Other popular reasons patients discuss avoiding flossing is that they now have crowns or fillings. This is probably the saddest of any reason explains Dr. Krempa. Despite doing excellent work, dentists strive for work to be accurate within 10 microns to make sure all margins of a filling or a crown are sealed. This is still a wider gap than many bacteria which are the size of a 1 micron. The place where most restorations fail is in between the teeth where the filling or crown meets the natural tooth. In fact some studies cite dental work as an attractor of these dangerous bugs. Before a filling or a crown is placed on a tooth, a lifelong and daily commitment to flossing should be obtained. Too often, this procedure is performed and reperformed because the underlying cause of disease is never treated—the patient is not flossing.
In his years of practicing dentistry, some patients will tell Dr. Krempa that it hurts when they floss. This is a good indication of needing to seek professional assistance from a dentist. However, routine flossing is not painful. Additionally, some patients do not like that their gums bleed. This is the body’s way of telling us that it is infected. When we take floss to our fingers or arms, this skin does not bleed. The gum tissue in health also does not bleed. In order to remedy this common disease, professional assistance from your dentist is important. In less than 6 weeks, the most common disease of mankind can be eliminated in most cases.
The most common reason for not flossing is a lack of time. While there are no easy fixes for this problem, when flossing becomes part of your nightly routine, it becomes faster and easier and you would feel dirty if you did not floss. Remember, you have left 40% of your mouth dirty if you don’t floss. Additionally, the cost of flossing is much less than the cost of fixing and repairing the diseases as a result of not flossing. In a calculation of time, it surely takes longer to do a filling in 30 minutes than it does to floss your teeth for 30 seconds. Truly, in today’s world of preventative services and trying to reduce health care costs, the cost of insuring someone who does not floss is astronomical and unexplainable to Dr. Krempa. While not everyone has developed disease or paid the cost of not flossing their teeth, it is clear that flossing translates to gum diseases and tooth decay given enough time. This disease can be seen on dental xrays and often the effect of years on neglecting this disease will be apparent on the picture of your teeth.
In addition to preventing cavities, flossing is crucial to protect gum tissues. Since the bacteria spread and grow from the gum line, when only tooth brushing is performed, the pellicle, or dental plaque, grow from between the teeth and limit the effectiveness of the tooth brush. Left undisturbed the plaque can become mineralized on the tooth and serve as a constant irritant to the gum tissue. This is the hallmark of gingivitis and advanced gum diseases like periodontitis. To remove this tartar on a tooth, a professional dental hygienist will need to be utilized. Left untreated, the gum tissues become infected and inflamed raising inflammatory markers throughout the body. Many studies have linked gum health to overall health, especially diabetes, heart disease and life expectancy. Health conscious dentists, like Dr. Krempa of Mobile, Al, are frequent educators on the importance of flossing to your overall health.
Proper flossing is performed by scraping both the front and back of the tooth after snapping the floss between the teeth. Gentle, but firm, pressure should be applied into the gums. Simply popping the floss between the teeth will do little to protect the teeth from the violent microorganisms. If you have further questions, please utilize the professional services of a dentist.
Dr. Krempa maintains a private practice in Mobile, Alabama. If you have questions about your oral care please seek professional assistance from qualified dentists.
Alex Krempa, D.M.D.
6350 Airport Blvd.
Mobile, Alabama 36608