Your General Dentist: What Can Happen If You Don’t Floss?

woman in a dentist officeNot following orders from your general dentist can lead to a number of issues with oral care, especially if you do not floss. In order to keep impeccable oral hygiene, flossing is absolutely necessary.

Flossing can aid in the prevention of plaque buildup, as plaque can later lead to tooth decay, cavities and gum disease if not properly removed.

What Can Happen If You Do Not Floss?

While your general dentist can provide you with the best advice depending on your oral history and status, the following includes helpful tips on what to expect if you do not floss and instead choose to skip this crucial step in your oral hygiene routine.

Plaque and tooth decay

Flossing is detrimental in the fight against plaque, as it can help avoid the spread of disease in gums and teeth. There are more than 500 types of bacteria found in plaque that can be either beneficial or damaging to teeth and oral health.

Along with food debris, water and additional components, your general dentist warns that plaque can build up in the mouth over time and lead to serious oral problems and disease, like periodontal disease, which can, in turn, lead to severe consequences, such as tooth loss

While toothbrushes help maintain clean tooth surfaces in the mouth, unfortunately, they are not fully enough to ensure proper health levels, as toothbrushes are not able to reach the tight areas surrounding the teeth.

On average, a single brushing can remove only 43 percent of plaque, leaving behind 57 percent of plaque that causes tooth decay. However, this does not include the plaque found between the teeth.

Cavities and gingivitis

A lack of flossing can lead to painful cavities. Plaque and a poor flossing routine are also the culprits behind gingivitis, a type of mouth disease. Bacteria found in plaque is known to irritate gum tissues, leading to the characteristic red, inflamed and bleeding gums of gingivitis. The same plaque that causes gingivitis can also promote the growth of bacteria buildup, which can destroy enamel.

General dentists warn that untreated gingivitis can progress into periodontal disease and enter the bloodstream, traveling to other body parts, such as the heart or respiratory tract.


It is recommended to floss at least once a day, preferably before bedtime, to remove lingering food particles and plaque between your teeth and gums. Flossing paired with thorough brushing can help stop the spread of harmful bacteria in your mouth. Depending on your oral status, there are a number of floss options available. There is the standard stringed floss, but there are also floss picks and floss wands, and virtually all types can come in different flavors, such as fruit or mint, and with waxed or unwaxed string.

Preferences aside, the main point is that you incorporate flossing into your daily oral hygiene routine. Of course, do not forget to visit your general dentist regularly for optimal oral health.

Integrated Dental Care serves the following areas: Exton, Lionville, West Goshen.

Request an appointment or call Integrated Dental Care at (610) 600-9745 for an appointment in our Exton office.

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