If you’ve ever been to the dentist, you have undoubtedly heard those four simple yet convicting words: “Don’t forget to floss!” Perhaps you’re already an A+ patient and you simply smile because you floss every day. But more common, maybe you inwardly cringe when you hear those words because you know you don’t floss as often as you should. More than half of Americans report that they don’t floss regularly and 20% don’t floss at all.1 From the discomfort to the laborious process of flossing, this important dental hygiene practice often gets a bad rap. But flossing helps your teeth in ways that brushing can’t. It is our hope that if you know why flossing is so important, you will feel more motivated to add this to your daily routine.
- Flossing prevents gingivitis.
If you don’t floss often, one of the things you probably don’t like about the practice is that it causes discomfort to your gums. You may even notice some bleeding when you floss. While not uncommon, this is a sign that your gums are not as healthy as they could be and may even be an early sign of gingivitis. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums and occurs when sticky bacteria called plaque begins to accumulate on the teeth. When plaque builds up along your gum line, gums become swollen and sensitive. To prevent gingivitis and make your gums healthier, flossing is essential. Flossing will remove plaque from your teeth and gums that your toothbrush can’t reach. Remember, the more you floss, the healthier your gums will be, and the healthier your gums are, the less they will feel discomfort and bleed when you floss. It’s a win win!
2. Flossing prevents cavities.
Plaque not only causes gingivitis; it also causes cavities. Cavities—or tooth decay—are permanently damaged holes in your teeth that can cause pain, infection, and eventually the loss of the damaged tooth. Without flossing, you won’t be able to remove all the leftover food particles and bacteria on your teeth, which will destroy the enamel on your teeth. Tooth enamel is essential in protecting your teeth from decay, and when it gets destroyed, cavities will easily form. Simply brushing your teeth will not remove plaque from all surfaces of your teeth, but the combination of brushing and flossing is a great way to ensure that you have removed cavity-forming plaque.
3. Flossing improves your overall oral health and gives you a beautiful smile.
In addition to helping prevent gingivitis and cavities, flossing improves your overall oral health. Studies have shown that good oral health helps reduce the risk of stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and other medical illnesses. Flossing also helps fight bad breath and keeps your teeth bright and beautiful.
We know that the thought of flossing every day may sound exhausting, but once you get in the habit, you won’t think twice about it. Plus, we strongly believe the benefits of flossing make this added step to your oral hygiene routine totally worth it!
 American Dental Association