After Flossgate: Why you Still Need to Floss

A viral story known as “flossgate” is being shared and is perhaps unwittingly misguiding people on their oral health hygiene habits. Flossgate refers to an article that claims there is little evidence to support the benefits of flossing, but many dentists and dental hygienists are trying to set the record straight and let everyone know that you do, indeed, need to floss, and here’s why.

Flossing Isn’t Optional: It’s Essential

Very few people have teeth that are so closely and perfectly situated together that prevents plaque and build-up between their teeth and at the gum line. Floss may have been dropped from the federal government’s guidelines, but not because their evidence was solid, rather they realized their recommendations were based on shaky evidence because of the ethical ramifications of conducting a long-term study. If you effectively study a group of people and intentionally prohibit them from flossing, you are nearly guaranteeing that they will experience some sort of dental or gum issue in the future.

The anecdotal evidence for the efficacy of flossing is strong. “As soon as a patient opens their mouth, he can tell which ones have been flossing and which ones haven’t been, because their gums are healthier,” said Dr. Timothy Iafolla, a dentist and public health analyst with the National Institutes of Health.

In fact, there is strong evidence that when flossing is correctly done, the patients oral health improves significantly. Try flossing consistently for a couple of months, and you will see a reduction in swollen, bleeding gums, which is a sign of unhealthy gums as they fight plaque and bacteria through inflammation.

Floss Properly and Consistently

When you do floss, be sure to hug the tooth and slide the floss gently beneath the gum line. It’s also important to be consistent with flossing. Just flossing once a week is not going to improve your oral health. Try to do it at least once every day, and preferably in the evening before bed. You, and your dentist, will see an improvement in your gums.

If you have any other questions about flossing or gum health, call Kildaire Family & Cosmetic Dentistry today! We have professional teeth cleanings, deep cleanings, periodontal gum care, and much more to keep your gums and teeth healthy!