So unless you are a dentist you may not have seen the news but there is no scientific evidence to back up that flossing makes any difference to the health of your teeth and gums!
Now if like me you don’t really like flossing and find it hard to do (yes even for a dentist its challenging – and growing up in the UK flossing is not something we tended to use) or you don’t floss at all this may come as something of a relief.
However, floss is great at removing food stuck between your teeth and many of my patients who floss do have healthier gums and less decay.
But is that their good fortune or because they floss? – that’s where science says there is no hard evidence.
No this doesn’t mean you can give up cleaning between your teeth, in fact, it means you can ditch your floss and switch to fluffy interdental brushes which are easier to use, gentler on your gums and a darn sight more effective at reducing gum disease than floss is.
But love it or hate it flossing is an important part of good oral hygiene. Your toothbrush cannot reach in between the teeth where lots of food debris and plaque build-up accumulates.
Brushing your teeth and not flossing is like taking a shower and not washing your armpits. Ugh.
Flossing when combined with good brushing helps you clean every surface of your teeth. Something like 40% of your tooth surfaces is inaccessible to your toothbrush.
My advice is to floss once a day every day, preferably after your last meal of the day or just before bed so that when you sleep there aren’t deposits of food and plaque sitting between your teeth.
As long as you use the correct technique it doesn’t really matter what type of floss you choose. The best floss is one that you will use.
The Benefits of Flossing
Flossing provides a number of benefits – from simply having cleaner teeth to preventing cavities and even avoiding tooth loss. Flossing reaches the places a toothbrush can’t and helps to prevent:
But done poorly it would seem that flossing has little or no benefit – however just because science says this is the case doesn’t make it true. Those studies had too few subjects and didn’t go on for long enough to ascertain if flossing really makes a difference or not.
However, while dentists across the world argue about to floss or not to floss there is one thing we all agree on. You must clean between your teeth – so if that be with floss or interdental brushes then I guess the choice is yours