Is it true that you shouldn’t floss?
Flossing has been recommended by dentists for decades, as a way to remove plaque and debris from the spaces between the teeth, where a toothbrush cannot reach. However, the practice has recently been called into question. Do you really need to floss? Why would anyone suggest that you don’t?
The difficulty of getting evidence – dentist Brooklyn and Staten Island
It turns out to be surprisingly difficult to get high-quality scientific evidence about practices like flossing. That’s because the only way to know whether flossing prevents oral health problems (like cavities and gum disease) is to compare people who floss to people who don’t, and see whether their rates of disease differ.
However, almost no one fits cleanly into the “always floss” or “never floss” categories. Some people mean to floss every day, but sometimes they forget. Some people do floss, but they don’t do it very well. Some people didn’t floss for years, then changed their minds and started flossing. You can see why it’s so difficult to find people who fit easily into one of these two groups.
Some studies show no benefit – dentist Brooklyn and Staten Island
It turns out that the available scientific research on flossing is poorly conducted, and some of it doesn’t actually show much of a benefit to flossing. In some studies, those who flossed daily (or at least said that they did) didn’t have a lower risk of gum disease than those who didn’t floss. That would seem to indicate that flossing is not necessary for your gum health. However, other studies have shown a benefit to flossing.
However, it’s important to note that there are very few studies actually conducted on flossing. This is part of why some professional organizations stop short of suggesting that everyone floss regularly to ensure their teeth stay healthy.
That doesn’t really mean that flossing doesn’t work – dentist Brooklyn and Staten Island
Some studies do show that flossing works. To get the results, you have to floss correctly. That means the floss is inserted into each space and rubbed along the sides of both of the teeth, as far toward the gum as you can go without hurting yourself. Just jamming the floss between the teeth and pulling it right back out again isn’t going to work. One study showed that flossing was highly effective when done regularly by dental hygienists, showing that technique is very important.
Other methods of cleaning between your teeth can work as well. The small brushes known as “interdental brushes” have been shown in some studies to be just as effective at cleaning the space between your teeth as is traditional floss. One study showed that the use of either floss or interdental brushes significantly decreased the rate of gingivitis (gum disease), compared to those who didn’t clean between their teeth.
Floss is low-cost and takes only a few minutes. If there’s even a chance that flossing works, it’s a good idea to do it. So clean between your teeth, whether you use floss or interdental brushes. Your oral health is worth the investment.