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The Importance of Flossing

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Updated: May 28, 2008

Many people don’t realize the importance of flossing. Flossing in between your teeth is essential for avoiding periodontal disease as well as preventing tooth decay. Periodontal disease is one of the main causes of tooth loss in adults and can be easily prevented by flossing. Studies have even shown that flossing can also help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Tooth decay is caused by plaque, which is the sticky substance that forms on and in between the teeth. If the plaque isn’t removed, it combines with the sugars and / or starches of the foods that we eat to produce an acid that attacks tooth enamel. Brushing removes plaque from the surfaces of the teeth, but only flossing can remove plaque that accumulates in between the teeth.

Plaque can also irritate the gums. When the gums are irritated, they bleed easily and become red and tender. If the plaque is not removed from in between the teeth with dental floss, the gums can eventually start to pull away from the teeth. When this happens, bacteria and pus-filled pockets can form and the bone that supports the teeth can be destroyed. Once the bone is destroyed, the teeth will loosen or have to be removed. Flossing your teeth is essential in preventing gum disease.

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