You’ve likely heard your dentist and hygienist—maybe even your mother!—remind you more than once to floss your teeth daily. And they’re right! We know that it won’t be the most fun part of your day, but flossing is one of the most important factors in keeping healthy teeth. Brushing alone just doesn’t do the trick when it comes to cleaning your entire mouth! If you’re still not convinced, we’ll go over just a few of the reasons to floss your teeth every day . . .
Reasons to Floss Your Teeth
- Because you’ll prevent gum disease.
This is probably the reason you hear most often when your dental professionals remind you to floss regularly, but don’t tune them out! Flossing your teeth protects your gums from exposure to bacteria. No matter how close-together your teeth are, tiny bits of food will get stuck between two teeth and press against your gums. When bacteria from these particles builds up, it creates plaque between your teeth. This, over time, leads to gingivitis, and later to periodontal disease (gum disease). Periodontal disease weakens the bone deep within your gum that holds your teeth in place, so those who have the disease are at risk for losing their natural teeth. If you have diabetes, become pregnant, or are at risk for heart disease, gingivitis and gum disease are more serious issues.
- Because you’ll cut back on bad breath.
This might be one of the most overlooked reasons to floss your teeth. When those particles sit in your mouth for a while, they don’t create the most pleasant smell. Skipping your daily flossing is a major contribution to halitosis, or bad breath!
- Because you’ll fight tartar buildup.
Over time, that plaque between your teeth accumulates and builds tartar—dental calculus that can discolor and weaken your teeth. Tartar buildup is another way to contract gum disease. While the only way to really clean out tartar is through professional dental cleanings, daily flossing helps prevent buildup.
- Because it’s harder to get tooth decay.
Similar to gingivitis and tartar buildup, accumulated plaque between your teeth can contribute to dental caries, or tooth decay. The area between two teeth—the inter-proximal area—is one of the most common spots for tooth decay to form.
- Because dentistry makes it easy for you!
Many people avoid flossing their teeth because, well, it’s not very fun—pulling a piece of string through your teeth once a day might feel inconvenient, uncomfortable, or even impossible. In fact, the American Academy of Periodontology (the leading dental group on gum health) released a survey that shows just what Americans would rather do than floss their teeth. Some would even prefer to do their taxes! For those of you who dread traditional flossing, modern dentistry has made it easy for you. There are tools like the WaterPik or Sonicare AirFloss that use water or air to blast those food particles out from between your teeth, or a manual flosser with a handle to reach difficult places more easily. Ask your dentist for suggestions!