The Importance of Flossing

Everyone knows brushing your teeth is important. Brushing not only gives you a whiter smile, or fresher breath, it also removes the bacteria and plaque that can build up throughout the day. Plaque build-up can occur for a variety of reasons, but is mainly caused by the foods and drinks we ingest. Though brushing is important, your toothbrush can’t always reach the tight spaces between teeth to properly remove the bacteria and plaque. Incorporating flossing into your daily routine is a great way to help you remove cavity-causing bacteria, leaving you with a healthy smile.



Gum Disease

When plaque and bacteria is not removed, it can lead to cavities, tooth decay, and even gum disease. Symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Gums that bleed
  • Red, tender, or swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Change in bite


Gum disease is bad enough for your mouth, but it can be pretty rough on the rest of your body as well. In fact, did you know that gum disease can lead to heart disease or stroke? This is why flossing is so important; it’s not only for your dental health but your health in general as well.



Harmful to Your Heart

Periodontitis is a serious type of gum disease that creates infected pockets in the mouth where germs can accumulate. Since the mouth is full of blood vessels, the germs and bacteria have an easy escape route to get into your bloodstream. This can cause inflammation anywhere in your body and it’s the inflammation that can damage blood vessels and cause arteries to harden–this can lead to heart disease and stroke.


  Woman flossing between teeth-min



Bad Bacteria

The more bacteria that accumulates in your mouth, the higher the risk you have for these conditions. Flossing can help you rid your mouth of plaque and food particles that bacteria thrive on. It’s easy to do and it can make a world of difference in oral and bodily health, yet “Flossing sits so low on people’s lists that the CDC says more than 47% of adults 30 and older have some sort of periodontal disease.”



Proper Technique

Regular flossing is just as important as getting regular dental checkups and cleanings. You don’t need to tear up your gums, but a thorough, even glide in the spaces between your teeth and down to the gum line will do the trick. Moving the floss up and down and back and forth, will ensure that you’re removing any food particles that may be caught between your teeth. It is important to floss at least once a day, though more often is even better. If you are spending enough time doing the job right, you’re doing what’s best for your health.



Getting Started

Don’t floss regularly? That’s OK. There’s an old Chinese proverb that states the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is right now. Today is a great day to adopt the healthy habit of flossing. Here are some tips on how to incorporate flossing into your daily routine.


  • Commit to it by setting a goal for 30-days of flossing
  • Start off by doing it once a day
  • Associate your toothbrush with your floss, so your grab one you grab both
  • Set reminders or notes for yourself in the area you keep your toothbrush
  • Stay consistent; do it every night before you go to bed, for example


Man flossing in the mirror-min


Our friendly doctors at Tendercare Dental are happy to answer any questions you have about how to care for your pearly whites. We pride ourselves on giving every patient the individual care and attention needed so you can have a bright and healthy smile! We’re now accepting new patients at all eight of our Tendercare offices in Portland!


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