The Importance of Flossing

young woman flossing

Flossing is considered to be a crucial aspect of maintaining your oral health. Most people have been told to floss every day since they were little kids. But how important really is flossing, and how exactly does it improve your oral health?

 

Explore our informative guide to learn why flossing is so valuable.

What is Plaque?

If you want to understand the importance of flossing, you need to be familiar with the effects of plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that builds up in your teeth and gums as a result of too much food particles and other bacteria in your mouth.

 

Even if you brush your teeth thoroughly every day, it isn’t enough to prevent the accumulation of plaque in your mouth. This is because food particles often get stuck between your teeth and brushing alone won’t usually remove them.

 

If you don’t floss and keep your teeth free of plaque, you put yourself at risk for a variety of harmful oral conditions. That’s why dentists like Dr. Michael Solly in Knoxville, TN recommend flossing every day.

The Consequences of Built-Up Plaque

Cavities

When plaque is allowed to accumulate between your teeth, it increases your risk of developing cavities. A cavity, also known as tooth decay, is a small hole that develops in the enamel of your teeth. Without treatment, cavities can lead to toothaches, oral infections, and even tooth loss.

 

Lack of oral hygiene, including flossing, is the primary cause of cavities. If you have a cavity, visit a dentist who offers tooth-colored fillings like Dr. Michele Taylor in Renton, WA. These fillings are customized just for you to restore the strength and appearance of your damaged tooth.

close up of tooth with dental cavity

 

Gum Disease

Another potential consequence of inadequate flossing is gum disease. Also known as periodontal disease, this is a harmful oral infection that spreads through your gums and threatens your oral health.

 

In the initial stage of gum disease, referred to as gingivitis, your gums will appear red and swollen. They may also bleed easily, though you likely won’t feel any pain. Gingivitis can be cured quickly with improved oral care at home or a deep cleaning from your dentist.

 

However, if you don’t seek treatment early, gingivitis can progress to the more severe stage of periodontitis. At this point, your teeth can become loose and start to fall out, causing the alignment of your bite to shift. You’ll also feel severe pain in your gums.

 

If you suffer from periodontitis, you’ll likely need to undergo gum surgery. To avoid this, make sure to contact your dentist at the first sign of red or swollen gums.

girl showing signs of gingivitis

Other Benefits of Flossing

While preventing cavities and gum disease are the main reason that flossing is important, there are some other ways it can benefit you as well.

 

For example, having bits of food stuck between your teeth can contribute to frequent bad breath. By flossing regularly, you can protect your teeth from damage and avoid the social embarrassment of bad breath.

 

Some dentists even recommend flossing as an effective way to prevent you from eating too many snacks. If you make an effort to brush and floss after eating an afternoon snack, you’re less likely to continue eating. While you may be willing to brush your teeth again, the additional effort of flossing helps many patients refrain from over-indulging.

 

Dr. Grussmark, an orthodontist in Miami, recommends this option for Invisalign® patients who have to limit their snacking so they can keep their aligners in for at least 20 hours per day.

Floss Every Day For a Healthy Smile

In addition to brushing your teeth twice a day, it’s essential to floss at least once a day if you want to maintain a beautiful smile. Flossing will help to keep your mouth free of plaque and protect you from harmful conditions including tooth decay and gum disease.

 

By incorporating flossing into your daily care routine, you can achieve optimal oral health for a lifetime.