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Flossing: Listen To Your Dentist Or The News?

Who says you don’t need to floss?

A lot of our patients have been mentioning the latest article from USA Today about the insignificance of flossing, so we decided to give you our opinions!

Basically, USA Today states that the American Dental Association and Institutes of National Health could not provide any scientific evidence that supports flossing actually making a difference. However, in our office we find it makes a huge difference in our patients overall oral health. There are three main reasons that we urge flossing: Plaque control, cavity risk, and gum health.

Plaque Control:

Let us paint you a picture.

Dental Care You Deserve
These are boxes

Imagine 4 boxes pushed together. Your job is to keep these boxes perfectly clean, dusting them every day, two times a day if you are great at your job… you can see where this is going. One day, your boss comes into your office and pulls the boxes apart. Low and behold there is dust everywhere, even some small areas where the boxes have rotted away. ’I don’t understand, I dust these boxes every day!!” Your boss has no mercy and fires you, all because you didn’t think to clean the sides of the boxes that touch. When you fail to floss, we are leaving all that fuzzy plaque and bacteria in between your teeth, which can cause bigger problems than just bad breath.

Cavity Control:

Just like the boxes that rotted away, your teeth can begin to break down where the bacteria eats away at your enamel. Imagine if you never brushed your teeth and every time you go to the dentist there is a new cavity, you really wouldn’t be surprised. A lot of patients that DO brush their teeth are very confused when they hear they have a cavity. In our patients who brush but don’t floss we mainly see cavities in between their teeth. Brushing doesn’t clean the sides of the teeth touching so the plaque remains, which in time can cause those areas of the tooth to break down. Check out the difference between these two X-rays

Bitewing xray wihtout cavities
No cavities between the teeth
Bitewing xray with cavities 1
Arrows point to black spots, black spots are cavities

Gum Health:

When we floss we should be taking the string all the way under our gum line, making sure to clean under the pink triangular gums between the teeth. This removes a lot of that bacteria and plaque that brushing alone can not remove. Not flossing under your gum line allows that bacteria to harbor and start an infection known as gingivitis. Red, inflamed, bleeding, and sensitive gums sound a lot worse than 20 seconds of flossing.

Nasty Gingivitis pic vs pale pink gums pic

So no, the American Dental Association and National Institutes of Health may not have been able to give scientific proof for flossing being beneficial, but at Coulter Family Dentistry we’ve seen what happens when you don’t floss, and it isn’t pretty.

Don’t floss at your own risk…

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