Do You Lie to Your Dentist About Flossing?

Do You Lie to Your Dentist About Flossing?

Posted on March 23, 2016 by South Braintree Dental Associates

By Alex Naini, DDS

Dentists in Braintree, MA Dental office in Braintree, MA

Written or medically reviewed by a board-certified physician. See's Medical Review Policy.
Are you one of the people who lies to their dentist during your check up? When they ask do you floss, is your answer "Yes!" when it should be, "Not ever" or "Sometimes?" You're not alone! According to a new survey on behalf of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), more than a quarter (27%) of US adults admit to lying to their dentists about how often they floss their teeth. Most people don't realize this but your dentist can tell that you are not being honest. Whenever your gums are bleeding, there is something going on in your mouth or body that needs to be addressed. In a healthy individual with healthy gums and teeth,  gums will not bleed during brushing, flossing or even a dental cleaning. When your gums start to bleed it is an early warning sign that you may not be removing all the plaque and bacteria properly.  The first thing you should do is visit your dentist. Sometimes a professional cleaning along with proper oral hygiene instructions is all you need.

In some more advanced cases you may need additional treatment or even surgery to clear the infection. 

Gum disease is very common.  One in two adults over age 30 suffers from some form of gum disease. In it mildest form, it is called gingivitis and is easily reversible with good home care and a visit to the dentist. Once it progresses to periodontal disease, the treatment and prognosis changes. The plaque and bacteria that surround the teeth and gum tissue produce toxins that break down the bone and surrounding tissue that hold your teeth in place. Even though rampant decay can cause you to lose several teeth at a time, usually with decay you have to restore or lose one tooth at a time. With periodontal disease, you can lose many or all of your teeth to the disease. Gum disease doesn't hurt so most people who have it don't realize they have an issue. Where decay can hurt giving you an early warning sign of problems to come. Think of it like this, gums and the bone surrounding your teeth are the foundation for your smile and oral health. If you don't take care of the foundation, you can lose the whole house.

There are many factors that contribute to gum disease including, pregnancy, hormone fluctuations, medication, diabetes, smoking, and many more. Also there are many systemic diseases that are linked to gum disease including, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, low birth weight babies, etc. When your gums are bleeding the bacteria in your oral cavity can enter your blood stream and settle in different parts of your body (heart, artificial joints, placenta, etc) causing other problems.

The most important part of keeping gum disease at bay is good oral hygiene. This includes flossing! Flossing helps remove the plaque and bacteria from hard to reach places that your toothbrush can't reach. Some people need to floss more than others, but everyone needs to floss at least once every 24 hours. 

If you suspect you may have gum disease, here are some warning signs.

1. Bleeding gums

2. Persistent bad breath

3. Red, swollen, tender gums

4. Loose teeth

5. Receding gums

6. Separating teeth or a change in the way your teeth come together

7. Pus between your teeth and gums

If you have any of these symptoms, go visit your dentist. Remember that gum disease is silent, meaning that by the time you have symptoms, the disease can be more advanced. Periodontal disease is a chronic infection in your body that your immune system is constantly fighting causing problems in the rest of your body as well as your mouth. If left untreated it can lead to tooth and bone loss. It is easily preventable in most cases and is a simple matter of good oral hygiene combined with regular dental visits.

Call us today to enhance your smile ! New Patients are welcome and we treat children. Call today to book an appointment! South Braintree Dental has meet the dental needs of the South Shore for the past 64 years. Braintree Dentists , Dr. Richard and Andrew Baker are experienced dentists in Braintree, MA. Our dental practice in Braintree, MA was founded in 1950.