A Message to the Anti-Flosser, Especially the Smoker

August 2016

With all the talk in the news about “There’s little evidence flossing actually works” we wanted to take the time to mention some of the benefits we see, especially for a smoker. Why should you believe us? We fix smiles every day! We replace teeth literally EVERYDAY!

closeup of smile with flossing

Gum disease which is also referred to as periodontal disease is an infection of the gums that affects the bone structure that supports your teeth. This disease in extreme cases can lead to your teeth possibly falling out, and no we are not talking like when you’ve had a bad dream, but permanently. One of the main causes for the severe cases of gum disease in the United States is smoking, along with improper hygiene.

How does the disease start? Well, it starts with germs on your teeth that get under your gums. If germs sit on your teeth for long periods of time layers of plaque begin to form along with tartar. This is what leads to the common know gum disease of Gingivitis. However, it is important to know that not all gingivitis progresses to periodontitis.

closeup of smile without flossing

So anyone, even a smoker, can get gum disease? Of course, without proper hygiene including flossing anyone is susceptible to possibly getting gum disease. However, smoking weakens a person’s immune system. It makes it harder for the body to fight against infection, this is true with gum infection as well. It also makes it harder for your gum tissue to heal properly.

According to the Center for Disease Control this means a few things to a smoker:

  • You have twice the risk for gum disease compared with a nonsmoker.1

  • The more cigarettes you smoke, the greater your risk for gum disease.5

  • The longer you smoke, the greater your risk for gum disease.5

  • Treatments for gum disease may not work as well for people who smoke.3

image of dental floss

What if you already have gum disease? Talk to your dentist! You want to make sure that you are trying to prevent further damage to your gums. Gum disease is one of the leading causes in missing teeth.

Please make sure that if you are a smoker you are under the care of a professional. It is important to get checked for gum disease as well as cancer. Early prevention is key in making sure that you maintain your health. Proper plaque control consists of professional cleanings at least twice a year and daily brushing and flossing. Brushing alone is not enough as it does not get between the teeth. The ADA recently responded to the news articles and stated, “interdental cleaners such as floss are an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums. Cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease from the areas where a toothbrush can’t reach. Interdental cleaning is proven to help remove debris between teeth that can contribute to plaque buildup.” Please make sure that you are still flossing, despite the most recent headlines. If you choose not to floss please use an alternative method for removing plaque between your teeth. Such as a dental pick, pre-threaded flosser, tiny brushes that reach between the teeth, water flosser or wooden plaque remover.

If you are unsure of how to properly floss you can ask your Dentist or watch this video below:

Sources: www.CDC.gov www.mouthhealthy.org