Dental health professionals, including the American Dental Association (ADA) are pretty much in solidarity when it comes to these four rules for maintaining good oral health:
1.Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes
2.Use fluoride toothpaste
3.Clean between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner
4.Regular dental visits for professional cleanings and check-ups (twice a year)
Let’s talk about rule #3
When dentists, hygienists and the ADA talk about “interdental cleaners,” we are mostly talking about flossing, and we agree that it’s an essential part of oral health. Regular flossing is designed to help prevent plaque build-up, which can cause problems for your teeth and your gums. But a new headline has been circulating, claiming flossing isn’t necessary, and that the medical benefits are unproven.
Don’t throw your floss away quite yet
For our patients who find flossing to be difficult and don’t appreciate how clean and fresh it can make their mouths feel, this might be good news. If you make excuses for not flossing and feel guilty when you skip a few days, you might be relieved to hear the latest news. But keep reading.
Scientific evidence has made flossing a recommendation for close to 40 years
But last year, the Associated Press decided to ask the departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture for evidence about the benefits of flossing. When the federal government issued its latest dietary guidelines, the flossing recommendation was removed, and the government acknowledged the effectiveness of flossing had never been solidly proven.
The research will continue, but we see the results of plaque build-up
The flossing studies may have been flawed, but we see the positive effects of flossing every day. And the American Academy of Periodontology is still encouraging us all to keep up with flossing. Existing studies don’t measure what dental professionals see when treating patients who don’t floss: signs of periodontal health problems, such as inflammation and attachment loss.
Don’t take the risk
We encourage you to keep flossing as a part of your daily oral hygiene routine. And see your dentist regularly. Make an appointment today: 304-754-8803.