That humans have odd habits and somewhat conflicting standards might not come as a surprise, but lying to your dentist? It’s true, according to a recent study conducted by the American Society of Periodontology. What’s more, more than a quarter of us admit to lying.
About What? And Why?
It is apparent, according to the findings, that flossing is widely considered a distasteful activity. Rather than being scolded during a dental exam, large numbers of adults as well as children would rather tell little white lies about their dental hygiene habits. The problem is that trained dentists, especially periodontists, are likely to know the truth, no matter how much you protest. Even those who don’t lie about it confess that they would rather perform other distasteful tasks rather than floss. More than a third of the adults surveyed said they would prefer to clean toilets, stand in long lines, endure traffic gridlock or work on their tax returns.
While daily flossing is touted as a way to maintain oral health and prevent gum disease, it is the most-often neglected aspect of oral care. But a campaign named “Love the Gums You’re With” aims to change current habits.
When “because your dentist told you to” isn’t good enough, consider these facts:
- Bacteria and food particles on and around teeth contribute to decay.
- Flossing removes particles from between the teeth, at the gum line, and in areas brushing cannot reach.
- Bad breath can be reduced or eliminated through proper brushing and flossing.
- Effective oral hygiene complements regular professional cleaning and checkups, and minimizes the prospect of needed repair and restoration.
Another good reason to tell your periodontist the truth is that gum disease can have other causes. If, despite diligent flossing and brushing, your gums still show signs of disease, it may be an early warning system to indicate the possibility of other serious medical conditions, among them rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and even cancer.
Because we at Salcetti & Associates see the results daily of poor oral hygiene, we really hope you won’t be lying to us about your flossing habits. If you have sensitive, inflamed or bleeding gums, or other symptoms of gingivitis or periodontal disease, we can often put a halt to the progression that might lead to tooth loss. We only ask that you meet us halfway and make a concerted effort to ‘show your love’ for your gums. The best way to do that at home is through regular flossing.
The alternatives are not so pleasant.
Aging Teeth Need Care
Teeth need help to remain strong and healthy throughout life. In past centuries, dentures were the norm. Today, we feel it is better to try to preserve natural teeth encased in healthy bone and gum tissue. You’ll smile more readily, eat a healthier diet and feel better all over if you have a healthy mouth. Unfortunately, after the age of 35, more people lose teeth because of gum disease than due to cavities.
If you’d rather not join the ranks of that disturbing statistic, follow our professional guidelines. Schedule a periodontal exam at least once a year, in conjunction with your routine general dental checkup. Be sure to follow your dentist’s recommendations for cleaning appointments. Always call us if you notice inflammation, swelling, bleeding, and spots on your gums and if you experience pain.
Finally, grit your teeth if you must, but resolve to floss daily. Repeat after me: Brush twice; floss once. Get into the routine. Do it daily. Then, you can tell us the truth, and we’ll both smile about it!