The Importance of Flossing Ever wonder why your dentist stresses flossing so much when you go in for your cleanings and examinations? Flossing is the only way to remove interproximal plaque biofilm which can accumulate between our teeth. These areas between the teeth are of vital importance as they are not accessible by the toothbrush. Waverley Oaks Dental, dentist in Waltham currently recommends brushing two times daily and flossing at least one time per day. Plaque accumulation which is not removed by flossing can harden and form calculus. This hard mineral deposit can only be removed by a professional cleaning by a dental professional. As the bacteria are left between the teeth they become more harmful. The gums will become swollen, red, and will often bleed when flossing. Gingivitis is the mild form of gum disease and is usually reversible when treated. This is done by regular brushing and flossing at home along with regular cleanings by a professional dentist in Belmont such as Dr. Leila Zamani, DMD. If gingivitis is left untreated it can progress to the more severe stage of gum disease called periodontitis. In periodontitis, the gums will slowly pull away from the tooth and form a space or “pocket” which can easily become infected. This pocket will allow the plaque and bacteria to then spread deeper below the gums and approximate the bone. The body’s natural response to this bacterial insult will be to break down the bone and connective tissue which hold our teeth in place. As the destruction continues the teeth can become mobile and ultimately lead to the need for removal of the tooth. There are many factors which can put patients at greater risk for gum disease. Smoking has been identified as one of the most significant risk factors associated with the development of gum disease. Not only will the patient be at increased risks but the prognosis for successful treatment is greatly increased by the harmful effects smoking can have on our body’s ability to heal. Other factors which can put patients at greater risk are diabetes, hormonal changes, and other illnesses. Patients should be sure to include flossing in their regular homecare regimen to avoid the development and progression of the disease.