We know school’s back in session, and in addition to your already-full work schedule, you now have to plan meals, arrange car pools, sharpen pencils, and still find time for your sparkle-madness, hip-hop dance flossingroutine. Trust us, we know. But, as you can tell by the three (three!) exclamation points that follow the title of this article, we mean business. It’s time to bite the bullet, face the music, meet your maker… well not quite time for that… but seriously, flossing is serious.

If you choose not to floss, and we all know you do (studies show that 73% of Americans would rather go grocery shopping than floss – grocery shopping! FOR SHAME!), here’s what happens inside your mouth:

  • Food debris piles up between your teeth – even if your teeth appear too close together for this to happen.
  • Plaque – a biofilm that develops naturally on teeth – hardens between teeth. This can happen in just 24 hours, and after 10 days, plaque becomes rock-hard and can only be removed by a professional.
  • The hardened plaque release toxins that eat away enamel and gum tissue.
  • Left to fester, the toxins create cavities and infections in your mouth.
  • Bad breath takes over.
  • Gum disease sets in (duhn-duhn-duhhhhhn).
  • There is no cure for gum disease.

So why should you floss? Let’s recap. Flossing removes food debris and plaque, prevents cavities, prevents bad breath, prevents gum disease, prevents tooth loss, prevents bone loss, prevents all the complications associated with gum disease, including elevated risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and dementia. Can flossing save your life? Believe it or not daily flossing can lengthen your lifespan by six years!

Not sure about how to floss? Ask for a demonstration from your dentist or hygienist. Don’t be embarrassed; it’s the kind of thing they dream about. You can also watch the video below, and share what you learn with your family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and random strangers you meet in elevators and while stopped at traffic lights. Studies show that bacteria from gum disease can spread through saliva, so also share what you’ve learned with the milkman (or milkwoman) and any other persons with whom you swap spittle.