Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, it’s a time when we gather with our family and friends. It’s a time to reflect on how many blessings we enjoy as American citizens.
For many, Thanksgiving serves as an informal family reunion. It’s a time to see loved ones who may have spread out to different places, but come home for a delicious meal.
And what a meal it is. Turkey and ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, greens, and we haven’t even gotten to deserts. Pies and cakes and … we could go on.
At Legacy Smiles, we are thankful for the time we share with our families at this time of year, and we are thankful to have all our patients.
We also want our patients to stay healthy, which is why we’d like to remind you of something else. The day after Thanksgiving is … National Flossing Day. (Yes, it’s Black Friday, too.)
Enjoying one of the best meals of the year is also a time to remember how important it is to care for your teeth. And that means brushing AND flossing.
Reasons people don’t floss
Most people take time to brush their teeth. We all know this is necessary for our the sake of keeping our mouths healthy. It’s also an act of common courtesy to anyone who may be close enough to smell our breath.
But flossing is a different story.
According to a recent American Dental Association survey, half of all Americans do not floss daily. That includes the nearly 1 in 5 Americans who never floss.
Have you ever been asked about flossing during a routine cleaning? There’s a reason why. Dentists and dental hygienists can see the signs if you aren’t doing what you should. Bleeding and swollen gums are a bit of a giveaway.
We understand that flossing is probably not on your list of favorite things to do.
Maybe you think you never get food stuck in your teeth. Even if you’ve never had someone tell you that you did, you can’t see the back of your teeth without help.
Maybe you think, you don’t know how to floss, or you think it’s too difficult to handle the floss. We assure, you can do it. (If you aren’t sure how to floss, you can learn by watching this video.)
Even if you find dental floss uncomfortable, others products have been created to do the same job. Soft picks, water irrigators, and flossers (with small handles and Y-shaped heads) can assist in cleaning your teeth and gums.
If you think you don’t have time, it doesn’t take long. You can do it right after you brush your teeth (which only takes about two minutes). If you’ve got another minute to spare, then you have time to floss.
Maybe you think flossing hurts. That’s possible. If you are not flossing regularly, your gums might hurt or bleed. This isn’t a sign to stop. It’s a sign that you could be developing gum disease.
If you make flossing a regular part of your daily routine, the bleeding and the pain should go away with time.
Reasons you should be flossing
Flossing isn’t just about saving you from embarrassment because you have a piece of lettuce stuck in your teeth.
It’s about making sure your mouth, teeth, and gums remain healthy.
We mentioned above that sensitive, swollen, and bleeding gums are signs of gum disease. Here’s why that can be a problem.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is the result of plaque building up inside your mouth. Because plaque is constantly trying to grow, regular brushing and flossing can keep this from becoming a serious problem.
Too much plaque can lead to tartar buildup. Tartar is a harder substance, and it may require professional cleaning to remove.
If left untreated, you are likely to see the symptoms of gum disease — the red, swollen gums, gums that bleed easily, and persistent bad breath. These are signs of gingivitis.
Gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. This is a more serious condition, and people with this risk infections that could lead to tooth loss.
This is one of the many reasons we encourage our patients to make regular appointments to visit our office in Billings.
If you or someone you love is showing signs of gum disease, please schedule a visit at Legacy Smiles as soon as you can. Call us at 406-794-3114, use the links on our website, or stop by our office at 2700 Grand Avenue, Suite D, in Billings.