You Stopped Flossing (But Do You Need a Lecture From Your Dentist?)
When it comes to health, there are plenty of opinions and contradictions. How many times have you been told that the sun is good for your skin then told to put on sunscreen? What about when a nutrition expert downgrades coconut oil being good for everything only to the equivalent of margarine? Dentistry is no exception and has its fair share of conflicting opinions. Most recently, the question at the center of dental health was, “Do we have to floss?” At CITIDental Brookline, we wish to address this issue.
He Said, She Said
During your visits to the dentist, you can always bet your doctor to ask if you floss. Sometimes we can smile with pride and say yes, but other times, we can mumble, “No” and then brace ourselves for the lecture. However, an article in the New York Times called “Feeling Guilty About Not Flossing? Maybe There’s no Need,” explored the question of flossing being necessary. The periodical observes that in 2016 the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services removed any mention of flossing without fanfare. The same article said that there was insufficient data to say reliably if flossing helps maintain your dental hygiene.
The Benefits of Flossing
In an op-ed titled To Floss or Not to Floss, Dr. J. David Moss, DMD, pointed out that there are around 500 species of bacteria that can be found in between your teeth. The spaces between your teeth are where plaque builds up and provide a haven for the bacteria. If plaque is not handled, gingivitis can take hold and inflame the gums. While brushing with fluoride is a good idea, flossing is the only way to get into your gums and dig out pesky bacteria and prevent any development of gingivitis.
Floss vs. No Floss
Which school of thought should we follow? Both sources are educated in the field of dentistry and flossing. The New York Times article points out a lack of data, but Dr. Moss draws upon 37 years of experience to back up his position. The best answer would be for you to come into our office at CITIDental Brookline. We can provide you a detailed dental hygiene plan that will get you the smile you want. While it is good to stay current on discussions of health, always consult a dental professional in these matters.
There are multiple opinions on whether you should floss or not. There is data that portrays flossing as unnecessary, but there is no data to show that flossing is negative by any means. There is information that supports floss as a way to combat inflamed gums and maintain gum health, which may make flossing a good idea to practice just to be safe. Ultimately, the best way to get your head around the debate is to obtain first-hand information from a dental professional.
To learn more about the flossing discussion, call CITIDental Brookline to schedule an appointment and learn about the other services available to our patients.