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How Not Flossing Affects Your Teeth and Gums

 How Not Flossing Affects Your Teeth and Gums

You may know that you’re supposed to floss daily, but that doesn’t mean you do it. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re in the majority. Studies show that only 32% of American adults floss at least once a day, and 20% admit to never flossing. That’s about half of the adult population, a stat that aligns with the number of Americans who suffer from gum disease.

Coincidence? We think not.

At St. Tammany Periodontics & Implants in Covington and Slidell, Louisiana, we care for a lot of men and women — some who floss regularly and some who don’t. And there’s a direct correlation between flossing and the state of your oral health. 

Caesar Sweidan, DDS, and our team love to help our patients up their dental hygiene game, but we find that some folks need a little motivation. So, we’ve put together this list of what happens when you don’t floss to drive home the importance of that long strand of waxy thread.

Chronic bad breath

It’s almost impossible to eat without getting some food stuck in your teeth. Corn kernels, meat fibers, seeds, and other foods wedge themselves between your molars and hide in the spaces where your teeth meet your gums. Even brushing can leave behind stubborn stowaways.

If you don’t floss, those food particles begin to rot, just as they would if you had left them on your countertop. Soon, the bacteria in your saliva find the food and have a feast, multiplying and building a colony. The rotting food starts to stink, and no amount of mouthwash or mints can sweeten your breath. 

Gum disease

Unflossed teeth accumulate a lot of bacteria that quickly form a sticky substance called plaque. Your toothbrush whisks away the plaque on the flat surfaces of your teeth, but it can’t reach those in-between spaces. If you don’t get rid of it, plaque leads to gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. 

Over time, plaque becomes more aggressive and attacks your gum tissue, teeth, and bones, a condition called periodontal disease. Your gums become swollen, red, and tender.

Gum recession

As periodontal disease progresses, your infected gum tissue starts to shrink away from your teeth. Gum recession exposes the vulnerable tooth root and leaves it vulnerable to decay. It also weakens your teeth’s support system and leads to loose, wiggly teeth.


When plaque sits on your teeth, it eats away at the hard, protective enamel until it forms a hole or cavity. We can easily fill the cavity and restore your tooth, but a cavity should serve as a warning sign that you need to pay more attention to your hygiene routine. 

We can help you identify what’s missing and how to improve your oral health, starting with regular flossing.

Tooth loss

Loose teeth can be saved. If you have periodontal disease or gum recession, we can clear the infection and repair your gums using a graft procedure to patch up the low spots. If you ignore the problem, you’re at risk of losing your teeth. 

Overall health problems

One of the most surprising facts about oral health is its connection to your overall health, but it makes sense considering that you constantly swallow the bacteria in your mouth. That gives germs and pathogens easy access to your upper respiratory tract, your bloodstream, and the rest of your body. 

Research shows that poor oral hygiene is linked to various chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. In pregnant women, it also contributes to premature births and low birth weights.

It’s never too late to start flossing

If you haven’t been a diligent flosser throughout your life, all is not lost. Dr. Sweidan can restore your teeth and gums and help you get a fresh start on your oral health. If flossing is difficult for you, take heart. We have tips and tools to help you floss between even the tightest teeth.

Call us today to book an appointment to talk to Dr. Sweidan about your oral health and flossing routine. No judgments here; we just want to help you improve your oral health from this day forward.

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