How Important is Flossing?
Is flossing really all that important? Yes! When you floss, you are cleaning the areas of the teeth that a toothbrush cannot access. Left on its own, plaque bacterial biofilm organizes and changes the environment in your mouth so that nastier bugs can survive. Once those bad boys get on the scene, you are at risk of developing infection, and possibly disease of the structures that support your teeth in your mouth.
By flossing, you disorganize the bacterial plaque biofilm, and you are doing so in the most vulnerable area of your mouth. The tissue is more likely to become diseased between the teeth.
The most likely outcome of not flossing is a gum infection (gingivitis) that may lead to gum disease (periodontitis), which can eventually cause tooth loss. The catch is that the initial signs of gum infection can be easy to ignore. Early on, the gums are a bit tender, red, and may bleed when brushing or flossing.
By flossing regularly, you also remove smelly plaque bacteria from more of your mouth than brushing alone removes, leading to fresher breath. It has also been shown to add years to your life!