Daily Flossing Is Just as Important as Brushing: Here's Why

Mar 21, 2023

Daily Flossing Is Just as Important as Brushing: Here's Why

Flossing. You know you’re supposed to, but it doesn’t have the same appeal as brushing. While brushing is fine for the majority of tooth surfaces, plaque tends to collect in places that brushes don’t go. Simply, you need to floss.

In the United States, about one-third of the population reports they don’t floss. Another third claims that they floss every day, while the remainder say it’s between one and six times a week. No matter where you sit on that scale, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that daily flossing is the best strategy for personal oral care. 

While the ADA also suggests brushing twice a day, that doesn’t make flossing any less important. After all, you only have a dental wellness check twice a year. When it comes to oral health, every piece of your treatment plan is important. 

The team at Los Altos Family Smiles provides comprehensive dental care for everyone in your household. This includes helping you with the advice and instruction you need to optimize your home routine. While you know the importance of flossing, you may not know why. We’ve compiled this primer just for you. 

Targets of cleaning

Food debris, saliva, and certain bacteria that live in your mouth combine to make a naturally occurring paste-like substance called plaque. It’s stubborn, and it’s sticky. When your teeth become coated, they feel, well, just dirty and wrong. It’s the opposite from the moment you leave our office with the smooth and slick sensation that follows a dental cleaning. 

Both brushing and flossing attack plaque-covered tooth surfaces to prevent its build-up and eventual conversion into solid tartar, which can’t be removed effectively at home. Brushing is your first line of defense, a broad brush that targets the large, accessible tooth surfaces to which plaque attaches itself. 

However, that’s the easy plaque to deal with. Two minutes of brushing with suitable fluoride toothpaste, and your teeth may almost feel fresh-from-the-dentist fresh. 

The importance of floss

Floss is all about your teeth’s proximal surfaces, those nooks and crannies that brushes can’t efficiently scour. Plaque accumulates more profoundly between teeth, as do pieces of food. Your best way to deal with these tight spaces isn’t with contortionist tricks with your brush, it’s with tried-and-true dental floss, or an ADA-approved interdental cleaning product. 

Why is flossing so important? Let’s take a look at the list of benefits: 

  • Plaque removal: as well as turning into tartar, plaque releases acids that lead to tooth decay
  • Preventing gum disease: plaque and tartar cause inflammation and infection of gum tissue
  • Fresh breath: prevents foul odors caused by trapped food debris as well as reducing the risk of gingivitis
  • Improved heart health: there’s a statistical connection between oral health and heart disease, so a regimen that includes daily flossing benefits other aspects of your health

If necessary, ask us for flossing tips or other ideas for improving your oral health. When it’s time for your next dental office visit, contact Los Altos Family Smiles by phone or online to schedule an appointment.