Do you forget to floss your teeth? You are not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only a third of Americans religiously floss their teeth every day of the week. Many people forget or even choose to not floss for several reasons. This can range from a lack of time or having sensitive gums. Still, dentists constantly remind us to floss every day. So what happens to your teeth and gums when you forget to floss?

Short-Term Issues When You Forget to Floss

This might seem like a small thing, but flossing is important in maintaining good oral health. The longer you skip this part of your dental care routine, the more likely you will develop these issues:

• Bad breath. Otherwise known as halitosis, bad breath can be prominent if you do not floss because food fragments remain in the mouth. Bacteria breaks down these food particles, which releases sulfurous compounds that causes the bad odor.
• Bleeding gums. From creating a film on the tooth surface, plaque can progress below the gum line. This can irritate the gum tissue, resulting in tenderness, bleeding, swelling and redness. If left untreated, you can start to develop gum pockets, gingivitis, and gum disease, all of which need professional attention from a specialist.
• Gum disease. The early signs of gum disease involve tissue pulling away from the teeth, creating gum pockets where bacteria can gather. From here, you can start to develop gingivitis, characterized by red and inflamed gums. This eventually leads to periodontitis, where bacteria reaches below the gum line to the bones that support the teeth. From here, you can experience loose teeth and receding gums.
• Plaque and tartar buildup. After two weeks of failing to floss, plaque and tartar start to accumulate between the teeth. Brushing can clean the surface, but it cannot go in between teeth. This is where flossing proves to be helpful. Plaque and tartar create a sticky acidic film filled with bacteria that contributes to bad breath. It affects the enamel, hardening it and making it hard to remove. This makes it difficult to remove at home, so a dentist will have to do it.

Long-Term Issues When You Forget to Floss

After months or years of constantly forgetting to floss your teeth, you start to have a higher risk of developing these long-term oral health issues.

• Cavities. Plaque travels below the gum line and will eventually eat through the enamel. This results in tooth decay and create holes in the bone.
• Loose teeth. Untreated periodontitis increases your risk of tooth loss because of bacteria that targets the supporting bones. Because of inflammation, the collagen and the tissue that attaches the teeth to the bones break down.
• Chronic health issues. A growing number of studies have shown that dental issues can have a rippling effect in the whole body. The accumulation of bacteria and inflammation can aid in increased weight gain, rheumatoid arthritis, and an increased risk for type II diabetes, dementia, stroke, heart disease, and other cardiovascular problems.
• Infection. Infections that start in the mouth will not remain in the same place. The pathogens can enter and spread to the blood and brain. Such infections potentially start from a gum abscess and require immediate medical care.
• Distorted smile. When bone loss progresses to the jaw, it can lead to atrophic areas. Shifting or missing teeth might require orthodontics or more invasive medical procedures to rectify.

Indeed, forgetting to floss can have drastic effects not only on your teeth and gums, but on your overall health and well-being as well. Talk to your dentist to learn how to properly floss and how to prevent these dental issues from happening.

Author's Bio: 

Ryan Daniel is a professional Dentist in Castle Hills of Lewisville, The Colony, Tx and genuinely care about the health and well being of teeth and gums. Visit my website: D. Dental