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Can Your Dentist Tell If You Don’t Floss?

So many people feel fear, anxiety, or even shame when it comes to the dentist. It can be tempting to stretch the truth about something small, like how often — or even if — you floss.

The dentists and staff at Santa Monica Bay Dental in Santa Monica, California, would like to reassure you that we’re not here to judge you, your life, or your dental hygiene habits. Instead, we’d like to help you reach and maintain an optimal level of oral health. And, when it comes to flossing, we know the truth, so you may as well be honest.

In addition to the fact that we can tell during a routine dental exam whether you floss regularly, you should be honest for a few other reasons. One is that if you floss regularly, but your gums look like you don’t, you may have some other health problem, and diagnostic tests can be expensive and scary.

Another is that your oral health is closely linked with your overall health. For example, if you have diabetes, you may have specific oral health symptoms. When it comes to your health, the best bet is always to be honest with your healthcare providers; in this instance, that’s your dentist.

Your gums tell the story

When it comes to how we know whether you floss, your gums hold the answer. If, for example, you don’t usually floss, but you do right before your dental appointment, we will likely be able to see indications. The floss injures irritated gums.

If you floss sometimes but not regularly, you’ll probably have pockets of plaque building up under your gum line.

Folks who only rarely or never floss probably have gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, or even periodontitis, advanced gum disease. Your gums are likely red, puffy, and perhaps they bleed whenever you brush.

Gums and plaque

When you don’t floss, plaque builds up between your teeth and just under your gumline. Plaque is made up of debris from foods you eat and beverages you drink.

Certain types of bad bacteria thrive on plaque. As the plaque builds up and the bacteria multiply, your gums suffer. Sometimes the enamel on your teeth also suffers, and you end up with a cavity.

Even without the potentially infection-causing bacteria, the plaque that builds up along and beneath your gumline irritates your gums. In response to the irritation, your gums become red, puffy, and inflamed.

Sometimes even flossing isn’t enough

Even if you floss every day, but you haven’t been to the dentist for a long time, plaque can build up on your teeth and lead to gum disease or tooth decay. Along with an excellent home hygiene routine, you need regular professional cleanings to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

If you’re seeing a bit of pink when you brush your teeth, your gums look red or feel tender, or it’s been too long since your last professional cleaning, schedule your appointment at Santa Monica Bay Dental today. Call or request an appointment online.