Don’t Throw Away Your Dental Floss!!

Just in case you haven’t heard the latest news: The Associated Press recently printed an article that stated you don’t need to floss anymore. The AP article stated that there were over 20 studies that had weak or unreliable findings on the effectiveness of daily flossing. Many TV news programs have since picked up the story and reported that flossing has little to no benefit in the management of cavities and periodontal disease.
The studies were found to be unreliable due to the duration; most lasted for just 90 days. Cavities take a lot longer than 90 days to develop. Periodontal disease can take many years to develop. Studies of a much longer duration would be necessary to effectively determine the long term benefits to flossing. There was also very little correlation between plaque reduction of brushing and flossing compared to just brushing alone.
All of this just means that more studies need to be done, not that flossing has no purpose. When you floss, you are cleaning out everything a toothbrush can’t reach. Have you ever looked at what you just flossed from between your teeth? Leaving food debris to break down between your teeth will lead to cavities and bad breath at the very least. Flossing also removes plaque bacteria beneath the gumline that your toothbrush doesn’t reach. Other methods to clean between your teeth include water flossers, air flossers, floss picks and soft picks if flossing with string doesn’t appeal to you. You should still be using something to clean between your teeth on a daily basis.
The American Dental Association, the leading source of oral health information, still recommends flossing once a day to remove plaque and debris that a toothbrush cannot effectively remove (in addition to brushing twice daily). They also noted that none of the studies that the AP looked at showed that flossing was detrimental in any way. Dr. Ee and the staff of Cape May Dental Associates will still be recommending that you floss once a day in addition to brushing twice a day. We always welcome new patients and are committed to providing quality and comprehensive care. Call us at (609) 884-5335 to schedule your appointment today!