Flossing – Are the Benefits Real?

An investigation recently done by the Associated Press has many people (especially dentists) grinding their teeth. The report says there is no conclusive scientific studies showing the benefit of flossing. The Associated Press looked into the matter after asking the federal government to provide research evidence that supported its flossing recommendations.

So what’s a dedicated flosser supposed to do?

First, understand that even if there haven’t been scientific, double-blind studies to prove the benefit of flossing, that doesn’t mean that flossing your teeth is a waste of time. Part of the problem is that flossing has not been as well-studied as it should. A majority of dentists and dental hygienists – who see patients who floss and don’t floss each day – believe it has real benefits including helping to remove plaque, prevent gum inflammation and reduce cavities. This is why the American Dental Association strongly recommends flossing.

However, many dentists will agree that the benefits of flossing do vary from patient to patient. Factors such as genetics, diet, and even medications also play a role in oral health. So while one patient can floss regularly and still have problems, others who do not floss at all can have perfectly healthy teeth and gums.

Ask your dentist what’s right for you

Given all the controversy, it’s a great opportunity to talk to your dentist at your next visit and ask what he or she thinks about flossing. Chances are, they’ll tell you that given the small amount of time and effort it takes, it’s a good idea. If you really dislike flossing, there are other ways to clean effectively between your teeth, including oral irrigators and interdental brushes. Medical professionals know that good oral health is important to your overall health. So be sure to brush your teeth twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste, clean interdentally with a method of your choice, and see your dentist every six months for a check-up.

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