Why Floss?

Dr. Alison Vitelli

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD, FAGD

I know we stress the recommendation of flossing every day, but why? Every time we eat, plaque gets accumulated on the teeth surface allowing bacteria to damage the tooth structure, which leads to the formation of cavities. Cavities are not the only thing forming on the teeth, this plaque can harden and build up on the teeth and under the gums as calculus, or commonly known as tartar. If not removed, calculus leads to gums disease which extends from gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) to periodontal disease. This condition is defined as the loss of gum attachment and loss of bone support, eventually leading to tooth loss. 

The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that, unfortunately, about one third of the American population flosses every day. Another third, once a week and the last third does not floss at all. 

Different tools are available out on the market to help increase compliance of flossing. Traditional string floss is still the highly recommended options. But floss sticks, water flossers, and interproximal brushes are some of the main alternatives for removing plaque from in between the teeth. Most of these tools are best indicated as an extra step to better take care of your oral health. So next time you come to have your professional cleaning done, ask us about what extra tools would be indicated for you. For now, please don’t forget to floss, your teeth and gums will thank you!