Why Is Gum Care Important?

Why Is Gum Care Important?
Posted on 06/22/2016

Brushing daily is common practice for most people as a part of their personal hygiene routine to maintain overall health. Surprisingly, the majority of people report that they do not floss as regularly as they know they should. So why are people willing to take the time to brush but not to floss?

Perhaps because they don't realize that both brushing and flossing are equally important for differing reasons. The truth is, these are two adjuncts to be used daily in a good oral hygiene regimen. A healthy mouth is comprised of well cared for teeth and gums.

The Process of Gingivitis and Periodontitis

Periodontitis leads to the loss of bone structure around teeth that results in mobility and loss of teeth. This process usually begins as chronic gingivitis due to inadequate oral hygiene and irregular preventive dental visits. This matters because inflammatory and infectious processes within the mouth have been linked to several other systemic inflammatory diseases.

Brushing and Flossing Daily

Tooth and gum health are influenced by both brushing and flossing. Put in the simplest terms, floss is used to reach where a toothbrush does not.

Brushing removes the majority of debris from accessible tooth surfaces. With correct brushing technique, the bristles may even reach a few millimeters below the gumline. Brushing should occur at least two times daily for two minutes each time.

Different techniques have been created over time to work around certain variables. For most people with no periodontal bone loss, the bristles are angled toward the gumline at 45 degrees using gentle circular strokes.

Flossing not only clears debris from the point of contact between teeth but reaches deeper beneath the gums in some areas. Regular floss or picks can be used as long as technique is appropriate.

For either method, use a back and forth motion to work past the point of contact between two teeth. Pull the floss against one tooth and up and down, repeat against the adjacent tooth. Pull floss free and repeat between all points of contact.

Gum Care During Orthodontic Treatment

Brushing and flossing around braces is challenging and takes more time. However, it is even more important because the appliances provide more places for debris to get stuck.

Gums can easily become inflammed and make attempts at thorough oral hygiene measures uncomfortable. If gum inflammation goes unaddressed long enough, gums may stay enlarged even after removal of braces. This requires re-contouring of the gumline surgically to be corrected.

A sonic toothbrush is ideal for brushing while in braces. Interproximal brushes can be used in addition to regular brushing to clean between brackets.

Floss threaders are necessary to get underneath wires. Floss picks designed especially for braces can make things faster and easier.