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Can Your Dentist Tell If You Don't Floss?

How many times have you sat in a dentist chair and promised that you’ve been keeping up with your dental hygiene routine? How many times have you said it with fingers crossed behind your back?

If you’ve been fibbing about flossing, you’re not alone: 73% of patients lie to their dentists, and 20% profess better flossing habits than they actually have.  

And while you might think you can get away with it, the truth always surfaces once we start the exam. Dr. Ryan J. Fait and our team at Southern California General & Cosmetic Dentistry, located in Long Beach and Avalon, California, are sharing a few of the ways we can tell that you’re not flossing even when you say you are. 

Your gums are inflamed

When you open wide and we see that your gums are a bright red instead of fleshy pink, it’s one of the first signs that tips us off to poor dental hygiene. 

Flossing is crucial to clearing away the debris, bacteria, and plaque that hide in the tiny crevices between your teeth. If you don’t get rid of them with floss, they stick around, accumulate, and irritate your gums.

Your gums bleed

Just looking at your gums can tell us a lot about your dental hygiene, but when we start cleaning your teeth, and they also start to bleed, our suspicions are confirmed. 

Inflamed, bleeding gums are not only a direct result of not flossing and maintaining your oral health, but they’re also the first stage of gum disease. 

You have stained teeth

Stained teeth are another telltale sign of poor dental hygiene habits. If you’re not flossing, a sticky substance called plaque builds up on your teeth and along your gum line. That can cause your teeth to start turning yellow. Flossing also helps eliminate stain-causing substances that stick around after you eat and drink. 

Your breath stinks

You guessed it — all that bacteria, plaque, and other harmful substances can result in bad breath. There might even be a piece of food lodged between your teeth that you haven’t removed because you don’t floss regularly causing your bad breath. If we’re greeted with a less-than-pleasant aroma, it’s another sign you haven’t been flossing diligently. 

Flossing tips

Don’t feel embarrassed if you don’t have the best flossing habits — 32% of the population doesn’t floss regularly. We’re not judging, but we do want you to feel inspired to change your routine, so we are offering helpful tips to get you in the habit of flossing. 

Some steps you can take to make flossing a regular part of your dental hygiene routine include:

Talk to us about the different types of floss available. We can help you find which one is most comfortable for you and teach you proper flossing techniques. 

If you’d like more information or would like to schedule a cleaning, request an appointment at our Long Beach or Avalon, California, office today. 

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