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!

What is Your Mouth Telling You?

Let’s face it; the dentist isn’t typically at the top of anyone’s list of fun places, however, you might want to think twice before skipping your next dental visit. Routine dental visits aid in keeping teeth and gums healthy, and may actually help you live longer. Recent studies have shown there is a possible correlation between periodontal (gum) disease and heart related problems like heart disease. Your dentist is a crucial member of your health care team because not only do routine dental visits help prevent and diagnose oral health problems, but they can also help detect other medical conditions such as diabetes and cancer that may first present orally.
Periodontal (gum) disease is the disease of the gums and bone that support teeth. These bacteria can cause inflammation in gums, which could travel to the heart or other parts of the body. Studies show that over half of all adults in the United States have some form of periodontal disease. Some of the signs of periodontal disease include bleeding or swollen gums, shifting teeth and chronic bad breath. Luckily, periodontal disease can be prevented or maintained by regular dental visits and a daily oral hygiene regimen which includes brushing, flossing and an antibacterial rinse.
In the United States there are over 25 million people living with Diabetes. Diabetes lowers resistance to infection and increases the chances of gum disease, tooth decay, taste impairment, inflammatory skin disease, persistent bad breath and changes in teeth position. Those with diabetes are also more likely to experience oral fungal infections such as thrush.
In addition to the millions of people living with diabetes, more than 40,000 people are affected by oral cancer every year. During routine dental visits, your dentist will check for signs of oral cancer. These signs include; sores that bleed easily or do not heal, crusted, rough areas of skin, lumps or thick hard spots, red, brown or white patches, changes in lymph nodes or other tissues around the mouth or neck and tenderness, pain, or numbness inside the mouth. Those at increased risk include anyone ages 40 and over, ages 18-39 combined with tobacco use (smoked or smokeless); chronic alcohol use, sun exposure, and oral HPV infection. Although risk factors play a major role in the development of oral cancer, one in four people that develop this cancer had no risk factors when diagnosed, reinforcing the importance of regular dental visits.
The importance of regular dental visits goes well beyond a person’s oral health. We at Cape May Dental Associates welcome new patients and are committed to providing quality and comprehensive care for all our patients.