Millions of Americans have grown up believing that flossing is one of the most important steps for keeping their teeth and gums clean and healthy. That’s because, for decades, dentists, the American Dental Association, floss manufacturers, and even the U.S. government have made a strong case that flossing is just as imperative for good dental health as brushing twice a day and could help prevent gum disease and oral bacteria. However, a recent article by Jeff Donn, a writer for The Associated Press, has many people questioning whether the age-old advice about flossing has any truth to it. When delving into the facts behind such a resounding recommendation for flossing, the AP writer came up relatively empty handed.
It turns out that even though flossing has been listed in the surgeon general’s report and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for years, the benefits of flossing have never been fully proven. Numerous studies comparing the difference between using a toothbrush and using a toothbrush and floss have yielded “weak, very unreliable” evidence to support the effectiveness of flossing for gum disease prevention and dental health support. As a result, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans unceremoniously removed flossing from its annual list due to lack of scientific evidence.
So, what does this mean for the future of flossing? Should we toss out our spools of minty thread once and for all?
Does Flossing Help Prevent Gum Disease?
As an expert dentist and founder of the Charlotte Center of Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Patrick Broome and his team know that oral health is about more than just a two-step daily routine. Maintaining optimal oral and periodontal health takes a multi-faceted approach in order to combat a wide variety of factors that threaten one’s teeth throughout a lifetime. For example, researchers have determined that genetics play a major role in how susceptible an individual may be to the many risk factors for tooth decay, gingivitis and gum disease. Combined with pervasive harmful oral bacteria, sugary foods, acidic drinks, low salivary flow, low saliva buffering capacity, and an individual’s unique immune system, it is no surprise that flossing may be an inadequate defense.
It is interesting to note that the AP article driving the current flossing controversy acknowledged that many of the studies used to discredit floss were outdated or conducted under a too-short period of time with a too few number of participants. Countless dentists know that flossing helps remove plaque and food debris from those hard-to-reach spots between the teeth. Without this step, even the most thorough tooth brushing can leave behind gingivitis-causing bacteria and the food that helps the disease-causing bacteria thrive, leading to gum disease, oral bacteria, and other oral problems.
Ultimately, a thorough home care routine, which includes daily flossing, must also be supported by consistent professional dental care and periodontal therapy for gum disease prevention. At Charlotte Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, our patients can learn how to fully optimize their at-home dental care, such as which toothbrush to use and the most effective techniques for flossing, as well as receive the state-of-the-art, fully customized professional dental treatments they need to best protect their smiles and prevent gum disease.
Our Comprehensive Dental and Periodontal Therapy Services
Dr. Broome and his team are dedicated to providing their patients with the most comprehensive and effective dental care available to supplement at-home brushing and flossing. From deep cleaning to oral bacteria DNA testing, Charlotte Center for Cosmetic Dentistry can provide a truly thorough periodontal therapy plan to target the more serious conditions, like gum disease, that brushing and flossing cannot beat.
Oral Bacteria DNA Testing
With just a simple saliva and plaque test, our oral bacteria DNA test can evaluate the specific types of bacteria threatening a patient’s oral health and then create a reliable treatment protocol. In-office, we can help reduce inflammation caused by gingivitis or gum disease, provide a custom home care brushing and flossing plan, and even prescribe antibiotics to fight the bacteria.
Our drill-free approach to many advanced procedures means that we can achieve the best results possible in less time with little to no pain for the patient. Whether targeting cavities, eliminating bacteria or reshaping the gums or malformed teeth, our patients receive better results faster, and without the dreaded drills.
Our revolutionary digital dental equipment allows us to make accurate oral health diagnoses and remarkable restorations in a single day, ensuring that our patients are in and out of the dentist’s chair faster and with better results. Digital X-rays, impressions, and custom-designed restorations allow us to treat and protect our patients’ teeth without having to undergo lengthy surgical operations.
Schedule a Total Health Dental Consultation in Charlotte Today
To ensure that your at-home oral hygiene (including flossing!) is fully optimized and that you receive comprehensive, professional dental care on a regular basis, please schedule your next visit with Dr. Broome. With our cutting-edge dental technology, expert training, and comfortable, relaxing office, our patients receive the complete care they deserve. Brushing, flossing, and professional oral health care will help keep your mouth clean and healthy at any age. Contact the dental experts at the Charlotte Center for Cosmetic Dentistry today to schedule your consultation!
Next, here are 5 more quick tips to improve your dental routine.