Flossing regularly in combination with brushing may be the single most important thing you can do for your mouth. It has been said that your mouth is a door to your body. Many things that enter the body come in through your mouth, whether it is food, liquids or bacteria. Bad and harmful bacteria, which are located in dental plaque, cannot be removed only by brushing alone and will remain in your mouth. Plaque is a soft and white accumulation of micro-organisms. It contains about 400 different species of bacteria, and billions of individual germs in each milligram of plaque. Some of these germs can be very damaging for the teeth or the gums when they gather in thick layers. Dentists and dental hygienists always insist on the importance of flossing, and recommend doing it twice a day. Here are some good reasons why you should floss regularly: Floss to prevent tooth decay. Dental plaque can cause cavities if it’s left between teeth. When mixed with sugar or starches, the bacteria that live in plaque can start the process of tooth decay. This is why it’s bad for plaque to be left in your mouth. Brushing alone does not clean in between teeth, only dental floss can remove plaque in those areas. Floss to prevent gum disease. Gingivitis (inflammation of gums) is the first stage of gum disease (periodontal disease). It is caused by an accumulation of plaque around gums and between teeth. Flossing is important to remove all plaque accumulated on the teeth. Floss to prevent halitosis. Dental plaque is one of the causes of halitosis (bad breath), and if it’s left between your teeth, it will generate a bad smell in your mouth. This odor comes from the metabolism of the bacteria contained in plaque. Bad breath can also be caused by gum disease and tooth decay (which are also primarily caused by plaque). Floss to prevent tartar build-up. Tartar is actually dental plaque that has become hard from the saliva’s calcifying action. Good oral hygiene practices, which include brushing and flossing, can slow down the accumulation of tartar, but does not actually remove it. Some people produce more tartar than others. Regular dental cleanings are recommended to remove tartar. Floss to reduce the risk of heart disease. Again, the mouth is an entry point to your body for harmful bacteria that may eventually reach your organs, including cardiac tissue. Dental plaque, which contains dangerous bacteria, must be eliminated to prevent those micro-organisms from reaching the heart through the blood stream and causing heart disease complications. Floss to avoid the complications with diabetes. Scientific evidence shows that people who suffer from diabetes can have their condition complicated by gum disease. Diabetics usually have a weaker immune system and take more time to fight inflammations and infections, including the ones that start in the mouth. That’s why good oral hygiene, which includes daily brushing and flossing, is very important to prevent diseases, or disease complications, such as with diabetes.