This Is Why Your Dentist Knows You Haven't Been Flossing

3 December 2019
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


It's a classic joke, but one that gained its roots somewhere in reality: many people try to cover up the fact that they haven't been taking the best care of their teeth by ramping up their efforts just before a dentist visit. Unfortunately, this rarely works out for the patient and doesn't often impress the dentist. Ever wondered why? Well, here's the reason why your dentist can see right through your last-ditch efforts.


Tartar is one of the biggest signs that someone hasn't been taking good care of their oral health. Tartar is the meaner version of plaque, a version that only develops after the plaque has been allowed to harden over a long period of time.

Some tartar is inevitable, no matter how well you take care of your teeth. That's why seeing a dentist for cleanings on a regular basis is a must. However, if tartar builds up in certain areas, like between the teeth and under the gumline, that's when your dentist can tell that you haven't been flossing, as flossing should remove the majority of plaque and keep tartar development in those areas to a minimum.


Another way that your dentist is able to tell is that chances are the inflammation in the mouth is higher when you don't floss than when you do. This is because plaque, tartar, and the bacteria that are responsible for both creates an inflammatory response in the gums and soft tissues of the mouth. When these substances aren't cleared away for a long period of time, this inflammation can even lead to gum disease. Needless to say, if your dentist sees signs of inflammation in your gums, they may start to get the hint that your teeth and gums aren't well-cared for.

Enamel Wear

Lastly, enamel wear and tear, especially abnormally early wear and tear, typically stand out to dentists. Enamel wear and tear can develop strictly because of tartar and plaque. These substances break down enamel and wear it away, leaving parts of the tooth where the inner surfaces are exposed. If that happens in the same areas where flossing should get rid of plaque, like between your teeth and just under the gumline, your dentist will get the picture that you haven't been flossing.

Ramping up your efforts to take care of your teeth is fine, so long as you keep doing it after you've seen the dentist. The most important thing is to take care of your teeth year-round so that you don't have problems that only the dentist can fix.

For more information, contact a dentist like Michael G Landy DDS.