Should You Still Floss?

In the summer of 2016, articles in medical journals and popular news publications started to question the importance of flossing. Soon the story started popping up on TV news as well. What happened?

Why Are We Questioning the Value of Flossing?

So, the AP asked the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture for evidence that flossing works to prevent gum disease and cavities. Then the guidelines on flossing quietly disappeared from the latest government issued dietary guidelines.

The government reviewed available studies and found them to be “inconsistent/weak” and “very unreliable.” But since then, the American Dental Association and many prominent dental professionals have come forward in support of flossing for oral health.

Where Do We Stand?

Dr. Ryan Caudill and Dr. Angela McNeight floss, and encourage their patients and families to floss too. That’s not too surprising is it? When asked for comment, Dr. Caudill remarked, “Food particles left in the mouth lead to bacteria, acids, and damage to the enamel. Next, we see inflammation of the gums, the start of periodontal disease (gum disease) and at the very least cavities.” If you don’t floss, you are only doing maybe half of the cleaning and dental prevention regimen. Cavities form between teeth just as easy as on the biting surface or front of the teeth.

While undergoing orthodontic treatment, you are more prone to develop cavities because food sticks to the brackets and Invisalign attachments. So it is even more important to floss daily while in braces or Invisalign.

Other Reasons to Floss

When you floss, your teeth even feel clean. Your incidence of bad breath also is reduced, as there is no decaying food keeping away your friends and family.

The ADA recommends brushing twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste, flossing or interdental (between the teeth) cleaning once a day, and seeing a dentist on a regular basis. That still is the also the best advice we can give patients to maintain their oral health.

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