While the Internet has its obvious pluses, it also has lots of, uh, less than admirable traits.
One of them is the way anyone can put something out there and other people simply believe it to be true. That’s how a woman whose sole claim to fame was that she had been a Playboy Playmate became the “expert” behind the incredibly silly anti-vaccination movement.
And it’s how a story in 2016 about the lack of value in flossing your teeth gained wide attention. The premise was that there supposedly wasn’t any research out there that showed using dental floss improved your oral health. It based this premise on the fact that there had not been any studies in which volunteers were randomly assigned to two groups, a floss group and a no floss group, to see what happened.
That’s probably because for a study like that to be effective, it would have to last at least a decade and it would need a lot of people. It would probably be pretty hard to find enough people willing to not floss at all for a decade just to see what happens.
By the way, there have never been any randomized control studies of smoking either, likely for the same reasons, but there’s not much question if it’s good for you or not.
Regardless of what people say on the Internet, our entire team at Gentle Dental want our patients to know that flossing your teeth once every day is a good idea. Well, it’s a good idea if you want to avoid gum disease and keep your teeth.
Removes 40% of your plaque
Research has shown that flossing does about 40 percent of the work required to remove sticky bacteria, or plaque, from your teeth. You know that plaque stuff — it’s made up of bacteria that eat the food residue left on your teeth, creating acids that cause tooth decay, and it also gets under the gums as the first step on the road to gum disease.
Each of our teeth has five surfaces. If you don’t floss, you are leaving at least two of the surfaces unclean, with the plaque just sitting there. Flossing is the only way you can get into the space between the teeth to remove any leftover food particles and bacteria.
But don’t just take our word for it. What about the Department of Health and Human Services? It says, “Flossing is an important oral hygiene practice. Tooth decay and gum disease can develop when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth and along the gum line. Professional cleaning, tooth brushing, and cleaning between teeth (flossing and the use of other tools such as interdental brushes) have been shown to disrupt and remove plaque.”
What about the American Dental Association? It says, “Cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease from the areas where a toothbrush can’t reach. Interdental cleaning is proven to help remove debris between teeth that can contribute to plaque buildup.”
Bottom line? Don’t believe everything you read online. Go ahead and please have your child vaccinated against measles, etc. And don’t believe some bogus story that says flossing doesn’t do anything for your oral health.
Drs. Strober, Messer, and Butkofski are just sayin’.