You may have read in the news recently that flossing is no longer recommended in the recent Federal Dietary Guidelines.
When I came across that, I was pretty shocked because there is absolutely no doubt in my mind, as a dentist with 26 years experience, that flossing is critical to a good oral hygiene. As I read more about this I found out that the flossing was dropped because of lack of adequate research to show that it actually works and the guidelines require scientific data to back it up.
Daily flossing has been recommended by government since 1979 but recently, in a letter to Associated Press, the authorities acknowledged the lack of research and consequently removed the flossing from their guidelines.
I have been asked by quite a few patients, and some friends if flossing is really necessary. Some were even eagerly hopping I would say no so they could throw their floss away and use that time for something more productive, like watching TV.
As much as I really wanted to make them happy and agree with the government, my dentist conscience didn’t let me do so and each time I passionately explained to them how important it is to floss daily and after each meal.
I agree that there is little scientific data backing up the benefits of flossing, but I see the results daily in my practice and it is so obvious that I doubt we need research to show that flossing is beneficial.
Floss reaches and cleans surfaces of teeth that are inaccessible by tooth brush. Without flossing plaque and bacteria accumulate in those areas and cause periodontal (gum) disease.
It is quite important to do flossing correctly. It should be done after each meal. So if you have 3 meals a day, you should be flossing 3 times a day. It should be done gently and in an up and down motion. It is also important to know flossing is also necessary for patients who have dental implants. Keeping those dental implants clean and plaque free is as important as in natural teeth.