There are studies claiming that there is insufficient research to prove the benefits of flossing. These studies and the associated media stories made some people start to believe that flossing doesn’t actually do much to improve dental health.
So why do dental professionals still encourage their patients to floss?
The purpose of flossing is to disturb plaque bacteria between teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach.
Plaque forms within minutes after eating and contains acids and germs that wear away tooth enamel. This is the beginning of the decay process. Dental plaque is also responsible for triggering gum inflammation that can lead to gum disease.
The data on flossing’s effectiveness may be limited, but it does show that the practice has many potential benefits and no risks.
What has been proven beyond a doubt is that dental plaque is responsible for decay and gum disease. It grows on teeth within minutes and can have an adverse effect on gum tissue within days.
You can’t just leave plaque on your teeth no matter which surface it develops on. That plaque turns into stone-like dental calculus, or tartar.
Tartar irritates the gums and attracts more bacteria. It quickly accumulates below the gumline right between teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach.
Flossing removes plaque before it has the chance to turn into tartar. This, in turn, can reduce your risk for gum disease.
Flossing is still considered an effective method to prevent oral disease. There isn’t anything to be gained from stopping the habit.
Your oral health won’t improve if you stop flossing.
Flossing incorrectly can cut your gums and be very uncomfortable. Some theorize that this allows dangerous bacteria from your mouth to enter your bloodstream and travel to other parts of your body.
In reality, the same scenario can result anytime you accidentally bite your lip, cheek or tongue. Flossing doesn’t increase the risk of bacteria entering your bloodstream.
Rather, not removing the bacteria can increase your risk of developing a form of gum disease called periodontitis. Unlike flossing, this disease is associated with serious conditions like heart disease and stroke.
Dentists don’t stand to gain materially from urging their patients to floss. If anything, their hope is that flossing will lower your risk for diseases and improve your oral health. Dentists expect that flossing will reduce your need for their services!
Dental floss is not expensive, so you don’t need to break the bank to follow your dentist’s recommendation to floss daily. At the very least, flossing won’t hurt you even if you believe it doesn’t provide any actual benefits. It’s just an extra step to make sure your teeth are thoroughly clean and reduce your need for fillings in the future.
But I as a dentist I can tell just by looking which ones of my patients floss and which ones don’t because the health of the gums between the teeth is a give away telltale sign.
Flossing may be a chore for you and you might worry about whether it’s effective or not. Just remember that it can’t hurt to be thorough in your oral hygiene routine—flossing can only help! Dr Rachel Hall Evolve Kenmore dentist can help you discover a method for cleaning between your teeth that’s both easy and effective.
Whether you are wanting to improve your gum health, remove old amalgam fillings or improve your smile we can help.
Call us today 3720 1811