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Scott McGarr, DMD Scott McGarr, DMD
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The skin of your teeth

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One of the easiest and best ways the average patient can protect his or her teeth is by flossing. This is one of the tools that dentists are always trying to get their patients to comply with because, simply put, it works.

After you brush you should floss - if not every time, at least once a day. Most people think that flossing just removes food from between teeth. For those times when you get food such as popcorn stuck there, flossing is definitely the thing to do. But flossing does so much more for you when done properly and often.

When you floss your teeth, you are literally breaking up pockets of bacteria that can settle not just between the teeth but under the gum line after eating. While it is very important to brush, you really haven't done a complete job until you floss.

Once the bacteria gets started, it continues to grow. If it is allowed to grow unimpeded it can create all kinds of problems beginning with what we call pockets around the teeth. These pockets that form are the start of infection, gingivitis and bone loss.

Red is a warning color in many aspects of life, and it is also a warning color when you brush and rinse. If you see a reddish tint while rinsing you are seeing the first signs of infection. The infection will not go away by itself, and if you do not address the problem you will begin to see other signs of a growing infection.

The natural progression of bacteria left unaddressed is bleeding while brushing and rinsing, red swollen gums, gum recession and bone loss. The bacteria are hungry little beasts which will feed off the healthy tissue in your mouth, and once the bone has started to be weakened you will run the risk of losing your teeth.

Of course today the routine visit to your dental office helps prevent the risks of poor dental health. But the most important component for you as a patient is your home health care. You have the opportunity to brush and floss every day; your dentist will only get to see you every six months or so.

We can advise, demonstrate, educate and offer you all kinds of information about your teeth and what's new in the field of dentistry. We can give you crowns, implants and dentures - but the very best thing you can do for yourself is keep your own teeth and keep them healthy. Brush and floss as often as you can the way the hygienist instructs you, stick to a healthy diet, and short of an accident you will never need a crown, an implant or dentures. While these are all wonderful options they will never fit, feel, or work as well as your own healthy teeth.

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