First, to understand why flossing is so important you have to understand what causes the need to floss. The reason everyone needs to floss is because bacteria, if left unchecked, cause cavities and tartar buildup. In fact, lack of flossing is the #1 reason why most cavities form between the teeth and is also why almost all dental bone loss is in between teeth as well. But, “How does this happen?” you may ask.
Well the bacteria in your mouth attach themselves to the structure of the teeth and form colonies. This is what plaque is. The bacterial colonies, then feed off the food you eat, favoring carbohydrates, like sugar, but are quite capable of processing any food you eat. After eating, they then secrete acid, which dissolves your teeth, and use the energy to reproduce. When there is enough dissolved tooth structure, a dentist will diagnose you with a cavity. Next the bacteria die, and your saliva calcifies the remnants, and that is how tartar is formed. This process takes roughly 24 hours.
Tarter cannot be flossed off and only a dentist or dental hygienist can safely remove tarter from your teeth. If left unchecked, tarter will start to inflame the gums. If the process continues further, you will start to see bone loss, and if enough time and neglect are given, tooth loss will happen.
In essence, floss does in between the teeth what brushing does for the rest of the teeth. It is recommended that you brush twice a day and floss once a day. I have always recommended flossing every time you brush your teeth because it builds the habit better.