Three Ways Flossing Protect The Health Of Your Gums

Most people know that flossing is recommended by dentists, but that doesn't mean that everyone does it on a regular basis. However, you're missing out on several benefits if you're not flossing. There are three distinct ways that flossing helps your gums in particular, so read on to learn what they are and how they help.

Food Removal

When it comes to gum disease, bacteria is ultimately to blame. Gum disease develops because of bacteria and their byproducts, which irritate and inflame the gums. If an open wound develops in the gums, or if they develop mild gum disease, the bacteria can even get inside and start to cause significant infections.

While bacteria are typically too small to remove with normal tools available at home, what you do by flossing is essentially starve them. Bacteria in the mouth need starches and sugars in order to thrive and reproduce. When you floss, you pull bits of food out from between your teeth and under the gum line, preventing those bacteria from feeding. In the long run, this means less bacteria and healthier gums.

Plaque Removal

Another thing that flossing does is get rid of plaque both between the teeth and under the gum line. Plaque is one of those byproducts that bacteria produce. When it hardens, it becomes tartar and increases the risk of both cavities and gum disease. Unfortunately, once it's tartar, it can't be removed at home and requires dental assistance.

By getting rid of the plaque before it can harden, you're doing your gums a great service. Removing this inflammatory substance will help to keep your gums healthy. 

Gentle Massage

While it's not often thought about, another thing that flossing does is improve your gum circulation by acting as a gentle massage. When you pull floss between your teeth and reach the gums, ideally, you should be making a swooping, cup-like motion at the gum line to pull out the aforementioned food and plaque. When the floss slides over the gums, it gently compresses them, then releases, allowing blood to flood back into the tissues. This helps to keep circulation healthy, which can help to protect your gums from gum disease as well as keep your teeth healthy.

Flossing is about a lot more than just getting food out from between your teeth. If your gums haven't been in the greatest shape lately, get a thorough check-up and cleaning, and then start a regular flossing habit to keep them healthy.

For more information, contact a general dentist in your area.