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To Floss, or not to Floss???

Giraffe with floss

To floss, or not to floss-that is the question...wait, what? Have you heard of the recent blurb on television, reporting that flossing is no longer essential to a healthy mouth? In early August, the Associated Press released information about recommendations for Americans for healthy lives, which had one big prescription missing; flossing. Claims that flossing is not a conclusive benefit to overall health have created an uproar in the dental community, and justifiably so. We know from history in reporting, sometimes important facts are left out in order to create a buzz so lets examine some essential details.

According to the American Dental Association,

"The news story also implies that by not including flossing in the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines, the government has changed its stance on flossing, however, this is simply not the case. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) made a deliberate decision to focus on food and nutrient intake (i.e., added sugar).

The Dietary Guidelines have no bearing on the longstanding recommendation from the Surgeon General, the CDC, and other health agencies to clean between teeth daily. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reaffirms the importance of flossing in an Aug. 4 statement to the ADA, which states:

“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. At HHS, NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR),CDC’s Division of Oral Health and Healthy People 2020 have additional information and resources about efforts to address and improve oral health.”

While the claims made by the Associated Press were not 100% valid, this report has definitely created the opportunity for conversations about oral health, which is never a bad thing. Essentially if you do not floss properly, or dare we say at all, food debris and plaque bacteria begin quickly making a home for themselves between the teeth. The longer these items are allowed to decompose and multiply, increases the risk for decay and inflammation; this equates to money spent on cavities and gum disease.

Flossing technique can take time to perfect, and when a person first starts they may see bleeding, but the good news is that after about 2 weeks of proper flossing the bleeding should skedaddle. If at first you don't succeed, try and try again; if you still can't get it or have questions call and make an appointment to see one of our awesome hygienists! Below is a helpful tip and please see our home care products that we recommend by clicking here.

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