You may be wondering why would anyone question whether or not you should floss? All dentists would say, yes, you need to floss. However, the government removed flossing from its Dietary Guidelines for Americans because the evidence was missing. As it turns out, a guideline can only be added based on scientific evidence. Because of this, the Associated Press published an article claiming the health benefits of flossing remained unproven. This caused many Americans to stop flossing.
Here’s the deal. More than 75 percent of Americans have some form of gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If left untreated, some cases of gum disease can harm the bone structure. And, the damage can’t be reversed. As we all know, your mouth is full of bacteria. Bacteria can cause plaque buildup, cavities, and gum disease. Brushing helps remove the plaque and bacteria from your mouth. However, brushing doesn’t reach everything. That is why we recommend flossing.
However, a new study from the University of North Carolina seems to contradict the findings cited in the Associated Press article. This more recent study looked at dental patients in two groups—those who flossed and those who didn’t—during two periods of five and ten years respectively. The new study found conclusively that the flosser group on average had a lower risk of tooth loss than the non-flossers.
We understand that flossing can take time, can be gross, can cause some discomfort, and may even cause your gums to bleed if you are just now picking up the flossing habit. However, if you keep at it daily, you will find that it will become natural and pain-free. We highly recommend flossing. There are many options available. You can use regular dental floss, floss picks, interdental brushes, or water picks. Water picks are gentle on the gums, so if you find some sensitivity while flossing, a water pick might be a good option for you.