Why Should You Floss Every Day?

dentist flossing a 3D mouth model

Why Should You Floss Every Day?

Does your dentist ever tell you that you should floss more? Flossing once a week or every couple of days simply isn’t enough, even if you’re brushing your teeth twice a day as recommended. Daily flossing is a fundamental part of good oral health, and it’s never a task you should skip. Let’s explore what makes flossing every day so important, and what you can do if you have trouble with string floss. 

Four Reasons Why You Should Floss Every Day

1: Flossing Removes Plaque and Prevents Tartar Buildup

Even if you’re brushing your teeth twice a day (for two minutes at a time) and using mouthwash, it’s not enough. There’s still a high risk of cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss if you don’t floss between your teeth. Flossing is necessary to remove plaque and food particles from places that your toothbrush and mouthwash can’t reach. 

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that builds up on your teeth. It releases acids that gradually wear down your tooth enamel, causing cavities. And if you let plaque harden into tartar, the problem gets even worse. It only takes 48 hours for plaque to turn into tartar that can only be removed at the dentist’s office, so you need to floss every single day to prevent excess plaque. 

2: It Helps Prevent Gum Disease

Plaque buildup doesn’t just cause cavities, it also irritates and inflames the gums. Gum inflammation can result in a serious infection known as periodontal (gum) disease. Without treatment, the infection can reach below the gum line and attack the supporting tooth structures, leading to tooth loss. 

Daily flossing helps keep gum disease at bay. But if your gums frequently bleed when you floss, you might already have gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. If you have bleeding gums, schedule an appointment with your dentist right away for gum disease treatment

3: It Prevents Bad Breath

The bacteria in plaque give off a foul odor as they break down sugars and starches into the acids that attack your teeth. So in addition to cavities and gum disease, plaque buildup can also cause persistent bad breath. Flossing every day helps reduce the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth, preventing bad breath. 

4: It Makes Dental Work Last Longer

Dental restorations are designed to last a long time, but only if you take good care of them. Tooth decay can make crowns and fillings become loose and fall out. And if you have a dental bridge, it’s crucial that you floss underneath it to prevent decay that causes the crowns that support the bridge to fail. You even need to floss around dental implants to protect the surrounding natural teeth and prevent gum disease. 

Do You Have Trouble Flossing? Try These Alternatives

String floss is the most effective way to clean between your teeth. However, it’s not a viable option for everyone. If you are straightening your teeth with braces, or have arthritis, flossing can be difficult. 

Here are some alternatives to string floss that can help you protect your teeth:

1. Water Flosser

This device uses a pulsing stream of water to clean along the gums and between the teeth. 

2. Interdental Brushes

These small, flexible brushes are designed to clean between the teeth, and are much easier to hold than string floss. 

3. Floss Threader

This tool helps guide string floss behind wire braces or underneath a dental bridge for easier cleaning.

Professional Dental Cleanings in Sun Lakes, Arizona

Even if you brush and floss every day like you should, you still need dental checkups at least twice a year. Professional teeth cleanings help keep your mouth clean and healthy, and during the exam, we can spot any early signs of gum disease or other dental problems. If you’re due for a checkup, call Dr. Saba and Associates at 480-895-2111 today to schedule an appointment.


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (10/23/2023). Photo by Hikmet Toprak on Pexels