In August of 2016, the US Department of Health and Human Services dropped any mention of flossing in their dietary guidelines. This has led some to conclude that flossing isn’t necessary. However, most leading experts in dentistry, say that’s jumping to an unhealthy conclusion.
There is a lack of conclusive evidence that flossing reduces the risk of periodontal disease, however that does not mean that flossing is void of benefits to producing good oral health.
It is known that the bacteria in plaque can cause gum disease. Studies have already shown that regular flossing can reduce the risk of the gum disease, gingivitis – and untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease. The toothbrush alone is largely ineffective in reaching the sides of a tooth adjacent to other teeth. Done properly, most dentists still recommend that you floss once a day, believing that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
How to Floss
One reason flossing data may be misleading is that many of us don’t know how to floss properly. We insert the floss between two teeth and saw back and forth, which can actually damage the gums if done too aggressively. To be effective against plaque, the floss needs to be held tightly against the tooth in a “C” shape and moved up and down. This acts as a “scraper” to loosen and remove plaque on the tooth. When each tooth is done, pull the floss through to the outside our your mouth – not up through the teeth.
If you have any question about how to floss properly, ask us to be shown the correct way. The bottom line is that clinical studies show flossing is effective if done well, and we continue to recommend flossing once a day, in addition to brushing, to maintain good oral health.