What Happens If You Don’t Floss?

You know that your dentist wants you to floss, but it's so annoying to drag that string between all your teeth, right? Maybe sometimes you don't floss, and then before you know it, you haven't flossed for weeks. While this is common, you don't want to go weeks without flossing if you can help it. Despite controversy over whether or not flossing is really necessary, for most people it is definitely helpful because flossing helps clean your teeth even more. If you don't floss, you could end up with more mouth trouble than you realized.

You're Not Cleaning the Sides of Your Teeth

The point of flossing is to clean the sides of each tooth. Your toothbrush cleans the front, back, and edge (or top/bottom in the case of molars), but unless you have a lot of space between your teeth, the toothbrush can't get in there. The floss removes the food debris that can eventually build up and form plaque. Imagine not brushing for weeks -- your teeth would look terrible. The sides of your teeth have to deal with that same mess if you don't floss.

Toothpaste Can't Reach Part of the Tooth

While toothbrush bristles can't get between your teeth to clean them efficiently, the toothpaste can work its way in there. By cleaning out the gunk between your teeth when you floss before brushing, you expose more of the tooth's surface to the toothpaste. If you use mouthwash, removing the gunk exposes more of the tooth's surface to the mouthwash, too.

Additionally, whether you floss or brush first is up to you. Some people like to floss first to get it over with, while others like to brush first because then most of their mouth gets clean very quickly.

Lingering Plaque Promotes Bacteria and Stain

If you don't floss and you let food debris build up, it can promote bacteria growth and cavity formation. It can also cause stains and make your teeth look terrible. The debris left near your gums can lead to inflammation and gingivitis.

Flossing may seem annoying, and it may seem to take a long time to do, but in reality it takes only a couple of minutes. The results you get when you floss regularly are worth those couple of minutes each morning and night. If you're not sure if you're flossing correctly, ask your dentist to show you. You can also contact your local dental treatment services for more information about the importance of flossing.