Recent media reports regarding flossing question whether existing clinical research truly proves the health advantages. The bottom line for patients is that an absence of strong evidence doesn’t necessarily equate to an absence of effectiveness.
The media claims that by not including flossing in the 2015 U.S. Dietary Standards, the federal government has actually altered its long-standing position on the benefits of flossing. When actuality, the Dietary Standards Advisory Committee (DGAC) made an intentional decision, amidst current societal epidemics in regards to nutrition, to concentrate on food and nutrient consumption (i.e. added sugar).
These most recent guidelines, which are meant to be dietary, have no bearing on the longstanding recommendation of the Surgeon General, the Center for Disease Control, and other health agencies the importance to clean between your teeth daily. In fact, on August 4, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reinforced the value of flossing in a statement to the ADA, which specifies:
“Flossing is an essential health practice. Dental caries and gum illness can develop when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth and along the gumline. Professional cleanings, toothbrushing, and cleaning between the teeth (flossing and making use of other tools such as interdental brushes) have actually been shown to disrupt and eliminate plaque. At HHS, the National Institute of Health, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, CDC’s Department of Oral Health and Healthy People 2020 have extra details and resources about efforts to attend to and enhance oral health.”
In accordance with the American Dental Association (ADA), interdental cleaners such as floss are an important part of looking after your teeth and gums. Cleaning between teeth eliminates plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease in areas your toothbrush can’t reach and are most sensitive to breakdown by bacteria.
In short, “the proof is in the pudding.” As physicians of oral health, dentists are in the best position to see the benefits daily flossing or other interdental product actually has in a patient’s mouth. Come in and find out which oral hygiene aid works best between the teeth for you!