The Truth about Flossing


In this online age, it’s a crime how a story can get lots of notice despite not being exactly true or even well researched. Such was a story in 2016 whose premise was that there wasn’t any research out there that showed using dental floss improved a person’s oral health. It based the story on the fact that there had not been any studies in which volunteers were randomly assigned to two groups, in this case flossers and non-flossers.

It’s pretty simple to understand why such a research study doesn’t exist. It would need to be at least 10 years in duration, and it would need a lot of participants. So, to be in the non-flosser group, you’d have to agree to not floss ever for 10 years, and you could just see what happened to your oral health. Uh, any takers? Willing to risk your oral health by not flossing simply to participate in a research study?

By the way, there have never been any randomized control studies of smoking either, likely for the same reasons, but there’s not much question if it’s harmful to your health or not.

Regardless of what people say on the internet (who wouldn’t think a vaccine that prevents polio wouldn’t be a good idea?!!), Dr. Brown wants our patients to know that flossing your teeth once every day is a good idea. Well, at least if you don’t want to get gum disease and lose all of your teeth one day.

Here’s why.

Removes 40% of your plaque

Research has shown that flossing does about 40 percent of the work required to remove sticky bacteria, or plaque, from your teeth. You know that plaque stuff — bacteria eat the food stuff left on your teeth, which generates acid, which is what causes tooth decay, and which irritates the gums eventually leading to gum disease.

Each of our teeth has five surfaces. If you don’t floss, you are leaving at least two of the surfaces unclean, with the plaque just sitting there. Flossing is the only way you can get into the space between the teeth to remove any leftover food particles and bacteria.

But don’t just take Dr. Brown’s word for it. What about the Department of Health and Human Services? It says, “Flossing is an important oral hygiene practice. Tooth decay and gum disease can develop when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth and along the gum line. Professional cleaning, tooth brushing, and cleaning between teeth (flossing and the use of other tools such as interdental brushes) have been shown to disrupt and remove plaque.”

What about the American Dental Association? It says, “Cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease from the areas where a toothbrush can’t reach. Interdental cleaning is proven to help remove debris between teeth that can contribute to plaque buildup.”

OK, so maybe you shouldn’t take the advice of the leader of the anti-vaccine movement, a former Playboy bunny, when deciding whether or not to vaccinate your child against measles. And maybe you shouldn’t take the advice of some bogus internet story that says flossing doesn’t do anything for your oral health.

We’re just sayin’.

Is it time for your next cleaning and exam? Call Implant Dentistry of Florida, (321) 372-7700 to schedule your appointment.

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