You've probably heard it many times: flossing is necessary to protect your oral health and to prevent gum disease. If so, why isn't it enough to reverse the more advanced stages, like periodontitis? If you're struggling with this condition or know someone who is, this is what you need to know about why flossing can't help you at this stage.
Gingivitis and periodontal disease are both forms of gum disease, also known as gum infections. They're wide-spread infections that can move across all the tissues of the gums if left untreated. However, periodontitis is different from gingivitis in that it's an advanced form of the disease.
When your infection becomes this significant, flossing won't make much of a dent in it. Imagine if you had had a gaping wound that was gradually becoming infected over a long period of time. Simply washing the wound at that point wouldn't help very much, and neither does flossing. More intensive treatments are required to reverse gum disease and to beat the bacteria.
One significant contributor to advanced gum disease is tartar, the hardened form of plaque. Tartar can't be taken off the teeth or gums via brushing or flossing, unfortunately. Only plaque can be removed with these methods. Once your plaque has hardened, it can encapsulate the gums, preventing them from being able to release pus, blood, or infected matter to help void the infection. Until this tartar shell is removed from your gums, it's unlikely that you'll be able to reverse the gum disease you're experiencing.
Finally, you need help from a dentist not just to beat the infection, but to fix anything that you've lost while you've had the infection.
Severe gum disease can damage your teeth and cause tooth loss, bone loss in the jaw, and it can destroy gum tissue. Thankfully, your dentist can help with all of these issues, especially if you don't wait too long to see them. Lost teeth can be replaced with implants or other tooth replacement methods, bone can be rebuilt over time, and lost gum tissue can be replaced with a gum graft of tissue taken from the roof of your mouth.
Having gum disease isn't something that anyone wants to go through, so once you've had yours treated, keep up the new flossing habit. However, don't expect to see any major improvements if you already have advanced gum disease - see a dentist for that.