Flossing should be part of good oral hygiene habits. It is a step often forgotten because even nowadays, many people think that you can avoid problems only by brushing your teeth regularly. But if your dentist and your hygienist constantly repeat to you that you need to floss more, it’s because it’s very important step. Flossing completes tooth brushing because dental floss goes where a toothbrush cannot reach.

Here are 6 very good reasons why flossing is so important:

To avoid gum disease

Dental flossDental plaque is made up of harmful micro-organisms which include bacteria, viruses and protozoa (microscopic parasites). If there is plaque left between teeth and near gums, it can accumulate and cause inflammation. This is the first phase of gum disease which is called gingivitis.

If gingivitis is not taken care of, it may develop into periodontitis, a more advanced and more severe stage of the disease. Periodontitis damages the alveolar bone that holds teeth in the jaw. If not treated, this disease may therefore eventually lead to tooth loss.

To avoid dental caries

Brushing alone can not clean the whole area around a tooth when there is another tooth beside it. Flossing completes tooth brushing by removing dental plaque and food debris remaining in the inter-proximal region (the area that is between two teeth). That region is a place where tooth decay commonly forms.

To prevent halitosis

If dental plaque that is found between teeth is not cleaned, it will eventually release a bad smell from your mouth. This is a major reason why a person may suffer from bad breath (halitosis). Tooth decay and gum disease, also caused by dental plaque, are a source of a bad smell in the mouth as well.

To prevent tartar build-up

If dental plaque accumulates around the teeth without being removed, it can turn into tartar by the calcifying action from the saliva. Tartar can also cause gum disease. The continuous cleaning of plaque, mainly by using dental floss, can delay its formation. But only regular cleanings and scaling in a dental office can remove the tartar around teeth.

To reduce the risk of heart disease

Heart Disease People suffering from heart disease must be very vigilant with their oral hygiene. The mouth is an entry point to harmful bacteria that may reach cardiac tissue. Infective endocarditis is the inflammation of a part of the heart caused by bacteria. One of these bacteria is the streptococcus which enters the body from the oral cavity.

Moreover, if you suffer from heart disease, by keeping your mouth and teeth clean, you can reduce the risk of complications. You must be very thorough by brushing at least twice a day, and also floss daily.

To avoid the complications of diabetes

There is evidence that diabetes can be aggravated when someone has gum disease. That’s why oral hygiene measures of brushing and flossing are very important to accomplish.

In addition, a person who suffers from diabetes has organs that usually heal more slowly. Tissue inflammation can therefore develop more rapidly, particularly at the gum level. It is very important to remove dental plaque and tartar regularly to avoid developing or complicating gum disease.


Canadian Dental Association (www.cda-adc.ca).

The information above should be used as a reference only. Any medical decision should not be taken before consulting a health care professional.

The masculine gender may have been more used in the article, but without prejudice, to make reading easier.

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