Great oral care at home is a combination of many things, including brushing and flossing regularly. Many people tell us they brush twice a day but only floss when they get something between their teeth. This is not enough.
The technical reason you need to floss is simply that there is a significant part of your tooth that a brush can’t clean. There is a contact in every place your teeth meet that is so tight your brush cannot fit into it. When you do not floss that area, it’s no different than if you were to not brush one side of your tooth. You wouldn’t just brush your front tooth unless you had something stuck to it, right? Food particles eventually form plaque, and that promotes tooth decay and gum disease. Flossing daily will regularly remove that plaque before it has a chance to do any damage to your teeth.
Flossing is more difficult than brushing. People who have dexterity issues and cannot floss with conventional dental floss can buy flossing aids at local retail stores. We recommend flossing daily. If you are just starting out, give yourself a realistic goal of every other day and work your way up. Although a good tool in some cases, a Waterpik is not a substitute for floss.
If you need motivation to floss, just remember to “only floss the ones you want to keep.” You will eventually lose the teeth you don’t floss.