We cannot over-emphasize the need for proper oral hygiene to the overall well-being of a person. Teeth give our face its shape, help in speaking and eating. It is essential to ensure they are clean and free from plaque or destructive bacteria.

Many people are conscious of the need for good oral hygiene and brush their teeth regularly. In nearly all appointments to the dentist, questions such as, “Do you floss before or after brushing?”, “why is flossing important to oral hygiene,” and “does flossing work” keep popping up. Flossing is not a favorite of activities, especially when gums are swollen from flossing.

According to a National Health and Nutrition Survey report of 2016 (https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-05-02/how-many-americans-floss-their-teeth ), only about 30% of the population floss their teeth daily. These statistics are worrying compared to the numerous benefits of teeth flossing. Let us dive into what flossing is and the importance of flossing daily.

What is Flossing

Flossing is the act of removing food particles, plaque, and bacteria between and underneath the teeth using a string called dental floss. Dental floss is a thread-like filament made of nylon or silk that can fit between the teeth.

Brushing the teeth reaches three (buccal, occlusal, and lingual) of the five parts of the tooth. Flossing enables you to remove plaque within the mesial and distal areas of the tooth where regular brushing cannot reach. If the plaque is not removed, it hardens to form tartar. This leads to oral diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Tartar also leads to bad mouth odors and inflammations on the gums.

Importance of Flossing Daily

As we have mentioned earlier, brushing your teeth is insufficient in preventing gum disease and tooth loss. How flossing helps you to keep smiling by removing harmful substances from your teeth. The below benefits will convince you of the importance of flossing and answer the question of how often should you floss.

Prevent Diseases

After meals, food particles and plaque gather between the teeth. If not removed, the plaque hardens to form a yellow or brown hard layer between the enamel called tartar. This substance attracts bacteria on the teeth, which produce acids that eat away the enamel leading to cavities or dental caries. Cavities lead to painful holes in the tooth and ultimately tooth loss if left unchecked.

Tartar also leads to inflammation of the gum, causing redness, swelling, and gingivitis. The diseases lead to bleeding or receding gums and teeth or bone losses. Gingivitis may also lead to periodontitis, a severe irreversible gum disease if left unattended.

A study by the American Heart Association (https://newsroom.heart.org/news/poor-oral-health-linked-to-higher-blood-pressure-worse-blood-pressure-control#.WLh5rG8rLIU ) answers the question does flossing strengthen gums and indicates that there is a direct relation between gum diseases and cardiovascular diseases. The gum’s damaged blood vessels cause hypertension, leading to heart attacks, stroke, or heart failure. Gum disease may lead to other chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, memory problems, diabetes, and respiratory conditions such as pneumonia. Another study from China (https://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease-lung-cancer-risk ) suggests that periodontal illnesses bring the risk of lung cancer, shedding light on why is flossing so important. Regular flossing plays a big role in preventing gum disease and other associated ailments.

Prevent Bad Breath

People avoid bad breath by brushing daily, gargling mouthwash, and chewing mint gums. However, these are only temporary remedies for a stinky mouth. The strongest pungent smell originates from the tartar between your teeth. If you do not handle the debris trapped between the teeth, no amount of coffee will help. How flossing helps is to eliminate the musty odor and keep your br