Ditch the Flossing?

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Every time we go to the dentist, we leave with a new toothbrush and a sample of floss approved by the American Dental Association, also known as the ADA. I know for myself, I always feel the need to floss really well the few weeks prior to my appointment, so I don’t hear, “everything looks great, you just need to floss more!” Hopefully I’m not alone in this!

A recent article has surfaced from the Associated Press stating that the medical benefits of dental floss are unproven.

An article dated August 2, 2016, says that although we have been coached to floss, floss, floss, there is little scientifically based research to support the need to floss. They propose the research lacks credibility due to the overall lack of research, participants in the studies flossing improperly, the time flossing participants were monitored was short, and the measured data from these studies does not even consider gum health.

The ADA has responded saying, “Although recent news reports have questioned the benefits of cleaning between your teeth, using an interdental cleaner (like floss) is an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums.”

A few dentists have said flossing is a low-risk activity that doesn’t cost much, and if there is a possibility flossing helps oral health, they feel confident in continuing to recommend it.

Our thoughts on this overwhelmingly popular media focus include:

Even if there is a lack of “official” research on flossing, the “research” and facts we see daily in our office indicates that flossing needs to be part of your, and your children’s daily oral care. I would compare this to when my husband dusts the mantle, but doesn’t move any of the pictures. Why even dust then? Are you really getting all of the surfaces in your mouth clean with just brushing? We see with our own eyes daily that flossing breaks up the plaque between teeth, removes debris, decreases gum irritation, and kids who floss tend to have overall better oral health and fewer cavities in our office.

The exciting piece of these articles if nothing else, may lead somebody, somewhere to do more official research on the long-term health benefits of flossing. Until then, keep flossing, and yes, every day.