Emotions run high in the newly-heated debate over the benefits (or lack thereof) of flossing, after an Associated Press reporter noticed that daily flossing had been quietly removed from the United States Dietary Guidelines earlier this year. While studies have not proven flossing to be harmful, the U.S. government cited insufficient evidence in support of the habit. The truth is, there have yet to be any extensive, long term studies completed regarding the risks of not flossing your teeth.

You may be wondering, why should I floss my teeth if there are no real benefits? As dental professionals and avid flossers for our entire lives, we’re taking sides in this debate. While flossing every single day may not be imperative to your overall health, we firmly believe that flossing should be part of your regular dental hygiene routine in order to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Here, we’re breaking down the top five benefits of flossing your teeth, and the risks of improper dental hygiene.

why should I floss

  1. Prevent Bad Breath – Did you know that there are over 700 different types of bacteria hiding in the average person’s mouth? Flossing allows you to go up to two millimeters under the gum tissue to reach where bacteria is colonizing and stop bad breath in its tracks.
  2. Prevent Tooth Decay – While not all bacteria is harmful, bad bacteria can build up between the teeth over time, leading to plaque and tartar around the teeth and eventually causing decay. Flossing aids in bacteria removal to prevent against cavities and tooth loss.
  3. Fend Off Gum Disease – Tartar build-up between the teeth not only causes cavities, it can also lead to gingivitis. The first sign of gum disease is red, swollen gums, and later stages of the disease can cause tooth and bone loss.
  4. Save Money – It’s true! A container of dental floss is relatively inexpensive, and medical bills to care for gum disease, cavities, root canals and other issues prevented by flossing can add up to thousands of dollars. A small investment in your health can lead to huge savings down the road.
  5. Maintain a Bright Smile – Removing those pesky food particles left behind will keep your smile looking bright and clean. Have you ever tried to remove a popcorn particle from between your teeth without floss? Yeah, it’s tough.

While the heated debate continues, trust your dentist to steer you on the right path to dental health. Next time you find yourself wondering, why should I floss my teeth, remember that you are in control of your health!