For most people, brushing their teeth is a twice-daily ritual. But flossing isn’t quite as common. A 2014 study found that only around 41% of Americans floss daily, and 20% of Americans never floss!

If you’ve been told you need to start flossing or floss more often while at the dentist, you aren’t alone. It’s a common recommendation, but why is it so important?

Brushing Alone Doesn’t Completely Clean Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth is extremely important and is the first line of defense against cavities and gum disease. But even the most high-tech electric toothbrush and waterjet gadget can’t clean between your teeth the way flossing can.

Just as plaque and tartar build up on the front and back of your teeth, they also build up between them. No matter how fine the bristles are on your toothbrush or how much it vibrates, it can’t reach those spaces enough to keep them plaque and tartar free.

It Keeps Your Gums Healthier

When your floss for the first time in a while, whether it’s at home or at the dentist’s office, you may notice bleeding. While this can indicate that you are flossing too roughly, it also may be a sign of gum inflammation. This itself can be a symptom of gingivitis or periodontitis.

Flossing helps clear plaque and tartar away from the confined spaces between teeth and the gumline. With this debris removed, your gums will have a chance to “breathe” and begin healing, which can reverse the course of mild and early gingivitis.

Your Breath Will Smell Better

You wouldn’t go to work, school, or other social functions without brushing your teeth first, especially if you can feel food residue on your teeth. But many people go out in public without flossing, despite the fact that the same food residue is caught between their teeth.

Bad breath can be caused by many different factors, and flossing can help solve many of them. Not only does it clear away unsightly and odor-producing food particles, but it also clears away bacteria than can contribute to bad breath. When you combine flossing with brushing, your mouth will feel and smell that much cleaner.

It Reduces Your Risk of Many Oral Health-Related Diseases

When you regularly brush AND floss, you’re performing a highly effective combination of at-home preventive care to reduce your risk of cavities, gingivitis, periodontitis, tooth loss, and infections. You also may even save your life, as high levels of mouth bacteria are associated with heart disease, stroke, and diabetes-related complications.

Brushing and flossing can’t 100% protect your oral health on their own, however. You should also avoid sugary foods and drinks as much as possible. If you do indulge, be sure to brush and floss soon after to clear away all of the bacteria-producing sugar.

Preventive Treatment Includes Regular Cleanings and Checkups

Flossing regularly may score you points at your next dental checkup and cleaning, but it doesn’t mean you can stop booking them! The most effective preventive treatment plan involves regular checkups and cleanings by a dentist. This not only keeps your teeth and gums in the best possible condition, but it also means early treatment for potential problems and diseases.

At Willow Chase Dentistry, we emphasize the importance of preventive care with every checkup and cleaning we perform. We’re also well-equipped to treat any and all signs of oral health problems, including gingivitis, cavities, periodontitis, and more. Request a dental appointment today for a thorough and comprehensive cleaning and checkup of your teeth and gums