To Floss Or Not To Floss
A quick response to the AP Report making waves – August 5th – By Dr. Daniel Radu and Dr. Michael Radu
The AP Report
You may have heard about the Associated Press’ report earlier this past week (See Here) stating there are no proven benefits to flossing. The article even goes on to suggest there may be collusion between the federal government, dental organizations and the manufacturers of dental floss. (Get your tinfoil hats here, folks!)
Now, as a dentist, I can only tell you that I know for sure when a patient flosses, and if they use the right technique. The picture is very clear (even though sometimes it’s a bloody mess. It’s a very clear bloody mess).
Those who don’t floss have:
- Tartar build-up in between their teeth and under the gums, and
- Various degrees of gum disease (inflammation/infections)
Toilet Paper Studies
We probably don’t have recent scientific studies to show that using toilet paper is beneficial, or that it keeps our… area… clean. But I think we all know that it does.
Please, please tell me we all know that it does. Babies excluded.
Not to draw too close a comparison between the fact that toilet paper and floss both clean things, but I hope my point is clear.
Here’s the caveat – flossing is effective, but only if done properly. And no, that doesn’t mean letting your hygienist do the honors every 6 months. It means being taught the right way to floss (the dentist’s/hygienist’s job), and actually following through at home (your job).
So Now What?
So what’s my final word? Please keep flossing (or start…), but make sure to do it the right way. Drop past the contact point between each set of teeth, and hug the neck of the teeth while sliding up and down. Be sure that every tooth gets a hug, because #everytoothmatters. They are sensitive and will get upset if they don’t get any love. And be gentle! It’s more about disrupting any sticky plaque on the tooth, not jamming it up there.
*Putting my tinfoil hat back on*
If anything, I suspect this is an attempt by the dental profession to drum up more business for themselves.
By all means, don’t floss. Ever! We’ll see you in the chair! Or, go rebel against the Associated Press, and tear a nice, long piece of floss off.