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Can Your Dentist Tell If You Don't Floss?

Can Your Dentist Tell If You Don't Floss?

You know the drill: you sit back in the dentist’s chair, and your provider smiles and asks if you floss. And what do you say? “Yes! Every day.” Or maybe you’re more honest and tell them, “Eh, sometimes.” But you probably wonder: would they know if I was telling the truth? 

The answer is yes. Your dentist can tell if you don’t floss. And despite what you may have been told, it’s essential to care for your teeth between professional cleanings properly.

Downtown Dental Studio offers safe, effective care for dental patients with many different needs. Fadi Beydoun, DMD, MSAlexander Kimon, DMD, and Karina Zaygermakher, DMD, offer treatments ranging from implants and dentures to simple teeth cleanings. But they will all tell you it’s essential to continue doing your job at home, and part of that is flossing.

Why flossing is important 

Plaque is probably something you’ve heard of before, but do you know what it is? It’s the formation of food pieces, saliva, and other particles into a sticky substance that adheres to the surface of your teeth. When you brush correctly, you’re able to clear away plaque. 

However, plaque doesn’t just form on the surfaces of your teeth that are reachable by your toothbrush. You can develop plaque between your teeth very easily, and often, your brush won’t be able to wash this away. If plaque stays there, over time, it can turn into calculus, a hardened version that can only be removed at a dentist’s office

Calculus doesn’t just stick to your teeth and won’t let go: it can cause many other problems. Chief among these is gingivitis, which can become periodontitis if allowed to worsen over time. 

But you may still be wondering why flossing is crucial. If you go back to when the plaque first formed between your teeth, you’ll see you can remove it with floss the way you can’t with a toothbrush. This will keep you from experiencing worse symptoms over time. 

How we know you’re not flossing 

Your dentist may ask if you’re flossing, but they will be able to tell. According to Dr. Tim Iafolla at the National Institute of Health, “Every dentist in the country can look in someone’s mouth and tell whether or not they floss.” And here’s why they’ll know you don’t, even if you say you do. 

1. You have plaque or calculus formed between your teeth. 

When your provider needs to remove plaque or calculus between your teeth, it’s clear you’ve been missing certain areas when not flossing. If you floss regularly, they won’t see as much build-up. 

2. Your gums will bleed. 

Bleeding gums is a common response to flossing if you don’t do it often. This is because you’re likely experiencing the early stages of gingivitis, making your gums bleed when probed. Those who floss regularly will not experience this kind of bleeding at the dentist’s office. 

3. You are uncomfortable during flossing. 

Sure, flossing isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world. But people who do it often build a good habit and a tolerance for it. If you seem uncomfortable in the chair when your provider pulls out the floss, it becomes pretty obvious you don’t do it regularly. 

Make sure to floss every day

The best way to avoid lying to your dentist is to floss daily. And if you’re ready for a cleaning, visit us online to make an appointment. Call our Financial District office in New York City, NY, at 212-964-3337. 

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