Woman flossing

The Backstory of Flossing

In 1815, a local dentist in New Orleans, Louisiana named Levi Spear Parmly invented dental floss. Even two centuries ago, Dr. Parmly recommended flossing daily. Has his suggestion passed the test of time?

The primary cause of dental disease is interdental plaque. When you floss your teeth, it disrupts the bacterial process of plaque building by cleaning the 40% of the teeth the toothbrush misses. The bacteria is best defeated by cleaning 100% of surfaces, daily.

Floss is essentially a string that cleans the surfaces between your teeth by removing food particles, plaque, and bacteria. Disease-causing bacteria builds a coating, or biofilm, on your teeth, which is the beginning of the plaque process that quickly begins harming your teeth as soon as it starts to accumulate.

Think of it as an initially subtle, but increasingly hostile takeover. Every day you don’t floss your mouth becomes a bit more hostile.

Bad Bacteria vs. Good Bacteria When You Floss Your Teeth?

Research shows us that we have good bacteria in our mouths, too. The thing is, we need a balance. The bad bacteria overrides the good bacteria that we need.

The beginning biofilm is the destructive bacteria’s initial strategy to overtake the oral cavity. Disrupting and removing bacteria’s work every day means that they have to start over, find new sugars to feed on, and rebuild from scratch.

Flossing your teeth removes much of the environment that harbors the bad bacteria. Balance is restored, and we have another day where the good bacteria wins.

Regular visits to your dentist aren’t enough to keep the good bacteria on their winning streak. That’s why your daily flossing routine is essential to keeping your winning smile healthy.

Consequences Of Not Flossing Your Teeth: it’s not if, but when!

Nothing good or healthy comes from plaque accumulation.  So, what really happens when bad bacteria wins?

Calculus (a.k.a. Tartar) Build Up

When harmful bacteria continues to build its biofilm without disruption from flossing, it visibly turns to plaque. You know this as the white, fuzzy, sticky substance on your teeth. If minerals are available, the sticky plaque turns to a hard substance we call calculus, which remains stuck on your tooth. This continues to create issues until it is removed by your hygienist.

Bleeding Gums

Do your gums bleed when you eat, brush, or floss? Healthy gum tissue does not bleed. Bleeding indicates inflammation. The most common causes of inflammation are gingivitis or periodontal disease. Bleeding gums are not normal for a healthy mouth. See your dentist.

Bad Breath

According to Medical News Today, the most common cause of bad breath is due to inadequate brushing and flossing. When bad bacteria multiply, they produce more waste.

This waste includes sulfur.

Food particles that are left in the mouth decompose, adding another element of odor.


As the number of bad bacteria increase so does its ideal environment of plaque, inflammation, and sugars. This, in turn, results in critical minerals being leached out of the enamel. Weakened enamel will eventually allow decay in the tooth.

Premature Tooth Loss

Gum disease leads to the destruction of the tooth-supporting structures including tissue, ligaments, and bone.


If you’re not cleaning your teeth regularly, they will soon turn yellow, discolor, or stain. A white smile is best maintained with daily, thorough homecare.

Traveling Bacteria

Studies show harmful oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream, and cause health issues, disease, and cancer throughout your body.


Bacteria’s ‘goal’ is to harm the tooth or surrounding supporting structures. Pain can result from decay reaching the nerve, or gum disease, among other causes.

Take Control of Your Oral Health in Less Than 6 Minutes Each Day: Brush and Floss Your Teeth.

Daily brushing and flossing, combined with regular professional dental care, is still your best strategy for ultimate oral health.

There are 1,340 minutes in a day. Brush two times each day, for two minutes each time, and floss your teeth once. Consider using a microbial rinse for a bonus. This leaves 1,334 healthier minutes remaining in your day.

Be sure to keep up your regular dental checkups and professional cleanings. We’ll celebrate your oral health standards and cheer you on. Your hygienist may have additional recommendations for your oral health and how to address any obstacles or challenges.

That’s what we are here for – to keep you healthy and always make you smile!


Bennett Dublin Dental
Opening Hours

Mon - 9 am to 6 pm

Tue -  9 am to 6 pm

Wed - 8 am to 5 pm

Thu - 7 am to 2 pm

Fr    - CLOSED

Sat  - By appointment