We’ve already talked about how going to regular dentist appointments are important for your health, but did you know the same is true of flossing daily?

While brushing removes plaque and debris from the surface of your teeth, it’s difficult for the bristles to get in-between and under the teeth. That is where flossing comes in – it gets in these crevices to remove what brushing can’t reach. As Alla Wheeler, RDH, MPA, who is an associate professor of the Dental Hygiene Program at the New York University School of Dentistry, said: Each tooth has five surfaces. If you don’t floss, you are leaving at least two of the surfaces unclean.[1]

What Happens When You Don’t Floss

Two of the major issues that can arise from not flossing are similar to the effects of not brushing: cavities and gingivitis. When you don’t floss, bacteria continues to build up between the teeth and will lead to tooth decay. After plaque has had the chance to build-up, it becomes hard, which we call tartar. This buildup can cause gingivitis, which is typically indicated by red and swollen gums and is the first stage of gum disease.

Other problems that can arise from not flossing are bad breath, loss of teeth due to gum disease, discolored teeth, and even problems during pregnancy.

Choosing a Floss

Like toothbrushes, choosing the best floss for you isn’t always an easy process as there are many kinds to choose from. The good news is that as long as you’re flossing, you’re helping the health of your teeth and mouth.

  • Most floss is made of either Teflon or nylon.
  • There is both waxed and unwaxed floss – the former better for those with tight spaces and the latter for people whose teeth aren’t too close together.
  • For those with wide spaces between their teeth, wide dental tape is usually suggested.
  • Ultra floss is good for those with more variable spacing.
  • Those with braces may want to use a floss threader to get past the wires into the hard to reach spaces.

If you have any questions about how often to floss, what kind of floss to use, or the correct flossing technique, ask your Winning Smiles dentist.

[1] Zamosky, Lisa. “Still Not Flossing? More Reasons Why You Should.” WebMD. WebMD, 1 Mar. 2012. Web. 16 May 2017.