Brushing and flossing ensures the removal of plaque and bacteria , which are culprits in tooth decay and gum disease . Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of such bacteria and plaque . Brushing removes materials from the surface of the teeth , while floss gets in between teeth where toothbrush bristles cannot reach . The American Dental Association says that a combination of brushing and flossing is the key to good oral health . While both brushing and flossing are necessary , some oral health experts says that , if done correctly , flossing actually may be slightly more important since it gets to hard-to-reach spots where the most destructive microbes live .
Oral hygiene does not just keep the mouth clean ; it also can prevent serious disease . The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says extensive research shows that the bacteria that flourish in an unhealthy mouth can harm the rest of the body , potentially contributing to diabetes , respiratory illness and heart disease , which is the leading cause of death in the United States .
Brushing and flossing also can make dental cleanings and examinations go smoothly . Plaque is the precursor to tartar and is sticky , but soft and pliable . Tartar forms when plaque has been left undisturbed . Once on teeth , tartar can ’ t be removed without professional help . By removing plaque before it ’ s had a chance to harden into tartar , people can reduce time spent in the dentist ’ s chair . Furthermore , those who clean their teeth and gums regularly will have a lower risk for gingivitis , which is inflammation and bleeding in the gums .
Flossing and brushing are important components of oral hygiene and also are vital to overall health .