To Floss or Not To Floss: The Question Everyone’s Asking

Apr 04, 2017
Recently, an article published by the Associated Press (AP) supposedly ‘debunked’ the necessity of flossing, stating that research over the course of time has been “very unreliable” and leaves “potential for bias”...

The Truth Behind Flossing and What You Need To Know

Recently, an article published by the Associated Press (AP) supposedly ‘debunked’ the necessity of flossing, stating that research over the course of time has been “very unreliable” and leaves “potential for bias”. According to the AP, this is based on “rigorous research conducted over the past decade” that, essentially, flossing does no more for your teeth than simply swishing water through it.

Furthermore, the most recent federal dietary guidelines outlined for Americans by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services makes no mention of flossing as it has for the last 5 years. When asked, the federal government confirmed that the general effectiveness of flossing has never been formally reviewed and therefore cannot be endorsed as a necessity for healthy oral care. So why have dentists been so adamant about regularly flossing for so many years? Dr. Beaufils has a few ideas.

What This Really Means

Despite this recent ‘revelation’, a large number dental health professionals are sticking to their guns. Why? Because flossing is important! The American Dental Association (ADA), for example, maintains their opinion that flossing is beneficial for the teeth and can help prevent gum disease and tooth decay from forming or spreading. As stated by the ADA, “a lack of strong evidence doesn’t equate to a lack of effectiveness.” Dr. Beaufils agrees! Just because the funding or government research has not been available to provide significant scientific results does not mean the effectiveness of flossing has been disproven! In fact, in his 24+ years of dentistry, Dr. Beaufils has seen the benefits of flossing first hand.

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While articles such as the one released by the AP can offer informative and helpful insights on a variety of topics, they can also present misinformation or confuse readers. In this case of anti-flossing in particular, it seems as though the federal government is outwardly suggesting that flossing is unnecessary.

In fact, this is not true; the removal of flossing from the dietary requirements was a decision based on guidelines that were recently reviewed. In response, a number of other highly respected associations, such as Tufts School of Dental Medicine and WedMD have released statements reiterating the importance of flossing and reminding readers that just because the research has not been properly conducted, does not mean the practice should be abandoned.

Does Flossing Actually Work?

This brings us to the next question: is flossing really necessary? The answer is simple: yes! That is, if you wish to keep your mouth free of leftover food particles, unwanted bacteria, and gum disease. Flossing – or using any sort of interdental cleaner – can help lower your risk of developing detrimental dental issues, like tooth decay or periodontitis.

The problem is many people are not flossing correctly. This may be why reliable studies are hard to find. The main goal of flossing is to eliminate plaque and bacteria in hard-to-reach areas that were not eradicated through brushing or rinsing. If this plaque is left between the teeth and around the gum lines, it can eventually turn into tartar. Eventually, this buildup can irritate the gums, causing it to swell, bleed, recede, and will ultimately cause cavities, tooth decay, or gum disease if not addressed. In turn, this can lead to worsening oral health conditions any will likely require a deep dental cleaning or extensive treatment to reverse the damage. Sure, flossing may not be the most important thing you do all day, but if you have the option to keep your smile healthy and radiant with a simple everyday routine, why not take advantage?

Don’t Be Fooled – Trust the Experts!

Beaufils Dental supports flossing 100%! Our expert team is dedicated to providing you with attentive, supportive, and informative care and information for your entire dental needs. For patients who have forgotten to floss a little too long, we happily offer teeth cleanings and a variety of other dental services to help your smile get into tip-top shape! Residents of Cooper City are welcome to contact us at 954-252-1390 to schedule an appointment today!