Let’s Get Real: Can My Dentist Actually Tell if I’m Brushing and Flossing?

By Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Short answer: yes definitely!

Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff can’t count the number of times a sheepish patient owns up to cheating on flossing and brushing between recare visits. Others try to get away with a little white lie—there’s no way Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff can actually tell I’m not flossing, right?

We’ve all had times in our lives when we let flossing fall off our list of good habits. But dental professionals can tell just by the state of your mouth whether or not you’re brushing and flossing regularly.

Gum inflammation often gives you away.

Regular flossing removes the plaque that builds up between your teeth and along the gum line. If you’re not flossing regularly, plaque will build up in these areas. It doesn’t take long before the plaque causes inflammation along your gum line.

There’s another way to tell, too. When we check your gums during your recare visit, inflamed gums often bleed a lot more than healthy gums do. If your mouth’s a bit of a bloody mess during your visit, this will change when you start flossing regularly.

Plaque and tartar are two of our key informants.

The plaque buildup that eventually causes gum inflammation is a key indicator that you’re not brushing or flossing adequately, even if your gums aren’t inflamed yet. So is tartar (or calculus), which is plaque buildup that has calcified on your teeth. That means it’s been there a while, and you’re going to need our help removing it.

Flossing or using a water flosser regularly can remove the plaque buildup from between your teeth and prevent tartar and inflammation.

You’re not the first patient who’s tried to pull a fast one on us.

Remember when you were a kid and it seemed liked your mom always knew when you were lying? “I wasn’t born yesterday,” she might have said to you. We often think the same thing during our recare visits. You’re not the first patient who’s tried to pull a fast one on us. Just like mom, we’ve got your number!

At Eggert Family Dentistry we love all our patients, which is why we are so passionate about teaching you good brushing and flossing habits. We may give you a friendly reminder to start flossing, but it’s only because we care about your oral health. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment with our caring dental team.

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