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Why Flossing Protects Your Health

Last updated April 28, 2016

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Flossing can prevent the plaque and bacteria from getting into the gum line, which causes gum disease and sensitivity.


Daily flossing is a very important part of a healthy daily routine, because it can protect your overall wellbeing. Flossing removes plaque from between the teeth that causes cavities, which toothbrushes miss. Flossing before brushing your teeth is most effective since toothpaste can get to more parts of your teeth. Plaque buildup at the gum line can harden and form tartar. Flossing can prevent the plaque and bacteria from getting into the gum line, which causes gum disease and sensitivity.

While the visible part of your teeth is covered with protective enamel, underneath there is the sensitive dentin, which makes up the rest of the tooth into the jaw. At the center of your tooth is the root, which contains nerves and blood vessels. Plaque and tartar buildup causing cavities and gum disease can deteriorate the protective layers around the root, and lead to painful tooth problems. By flossing and brushing, you can prevent these painful oral health problems and save money in the long-term by preventing the need for expensive dental procedures.

According to Mayo Clinic, poor oral health has been linked to endocarditis (infection of the heart inner lining), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and more. One of the reasons for these connections is the penetration of bad oral bacteria into the bloodstream.

Therefore, flossing is an important method of maintaining good health by preventing plaque and tartar buildup, protecting tooth enamel, preventing painful tooth problems, and reducing your risk for further health issues.

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing (accessed on April 2, 2016)

https://www.humana.com/learning-center/health-and-wellbeing/healthy-living/benefits-of-using-dental-floss (accessed on April 2, 2016)

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/oral-care/products/5-reasons-flossing-is-important.htm#page=0 (accessed on April 2, 2016)

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475?pg=1 (accessed on April 2, 2016)

Healthy mouth, healthy ageing: oral health guide for caregivers of older people. New Zealand Dental Association, 2010.

Harris, D. M., & Guten, S. (1979). Health-protective behavior: An exploratory study. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 17-29.

Bagley, K. (2001). Brush Well: A look at Dental Care. Capstone.

Dunning, T. (2009). Periodontal disease-the overlooked diabetes complication. Nephrology nursing journal, 36(5), 489.

Well, E. (2012). Stay Well. Kathryne Holden.

Rise, J., & Sögaard, A. J. (1988). Effect of a mass media periodontal campaign upon preventive knowledge and behavior in Norway. Community dentistry and oral epidemiology, 16(1), 1-4.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: April 28, 2016
Last updated: April 28, 2016