Thursday, December 1, 2016

ADA, Federal Agencies, and Dentists Still Encourage Flossing

            A few months ago a study was released questioning the efficacy of flossing your teeth. Because of this, many people began to think that ‘science’ doesn’t support flossing. However, the Department of Health and Human services, the American Dental Association, and others have “reaffirmed the importance of interdental cleaning.” So what is the truth behind all of this?
            A periodontist is a specialist of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth. When it comes down to it, they are the authority in how to take care of the gums. Their group still strongly supports the importance of flossing and cleaning between the teeth. A toothbrush is absolutely essential in cleaning your teeth and gums every day, but it cannot access all of the areas in between the teeth. And even though there are plenty of studies that support the use of floss and interdental cleaning, many dentists and periodontists say the reason they support flossing is because of what they see in their offices every day. Flossing improves the health of their patient’s gums.
            Traditional flossing isn’t the only way you can clean in between your teeth. Even though I believe it should be a part of every person’s home care, there are other tools to clean in between the teeth. For people that have larger gaps between their teeth, gum recession, or dental bridges, the use of ‘soft picks’ can be helpful. These tools look like rubberized tooth picks with small rubber barbs to help clean the gum tissue. And there is a product called Super-Floss that is effective for cleaning under bridges. It is a much thicker type of floss that can remove more food and debris than traditional floss.
            The bottom line is you should floss every day. The improvement in the health of your gums will be worth the extra couple of minutes it may take you. And if you stop to see what has been hiding in between your teeth all day, it will be extra motivation!

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Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS

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