So you brush your teeth twice a day. Great! But do you floss? As Dr. Goldenhersh of will tell you, a lot of patients out there hesitate going in for a dentist appointment to avoid the occasional lecture from the dentist about the importance of flossing. That’s because, for many people, while they’ve heard of the potential benefits of flossing, this advice comes through one ear and diffuses through the other much like how the dental floss moves between your teeth. The truth is, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding flossing, including the proper techniques on how to do it. If you are asking yourself, “why should I floss?” Here’s why.
How important is flossing?
The truth is there’s very little scientific evidence backing up the fact that flossing is effective. And in 2016, a news story emerged that purported that flossing was apparently useless. Before rushing to embrace such claims, here are a few things you should know about scientific studies. For one, performing big studies can often be expensive and complicated, and thus some subjects like flossing may be deemed too hard to study. In addition, putting together scientific research can prove taxing and present ethical implications, especially if you need to monitor the health behaviors of a given group, which would be the case for flossing research. What this means is that while some things may not be backed by large scientific research, it doesn’t make them any less true, and such cases call for a little bit of common sense.
As most dentists can report, based on their experience, flossing does make a huge difference in your overall oral hygiene. Yes, some people may not floss and still have great teeth, and others may floss and still have dental issues. But that’s only because several factors impact your oral hygiene, and flossing is just one piece of the puzzle. For instance, despite flossing regularly, people who drink sugary drinks like soda or those who are genetically predisposed to gum disease are likely to suffer from cavities. However, this doesn’t make flossing any less important, and even such people can benefit from regular flossing.
Flossing vs. Brushing
If you are still skeptical about flossing, here is a little experiment that may convince you otherwise. Try brushing your teeth as long as you can. Immediately after, take a piece of floss and pop it in and out between your teeth, then inspect it. Chances are, you will notice some particles, and even if you don’t, you will notice a foul smell because there are still bacteria between your teeth. This happens because brushing removes plaque from the front and back surfaces of the teeth, and even the best toothbrush cannot reach between the teeth. Floss, on the other hand, can easily reach the plaque between your teeth and remove debris that causes poor oral hygiene. That said, flossing your teeth is just as important as brushing your teeth as both methods target plaque and bacteria lodge in different parts of your teeth.
Types of floss
Basically, flossing is all about interdental cleaning, which focuses on removing the plaque that collects between your teeth. When it comes to flossing, there are different types. There is the traditional string floss which many people are probably familiar with, and the one-handed floss picks, which many report offers the most convenience. There is also floss that has little bristles around them and liquid-based floss. Their effectiveness may differ slightly, what you need to do is pick one that works for you.
The fact is, anything you do to get the bacteria and debris in between your teeth is going to make a massive difference to your overall oral hygiene. And flossing is a great and easy way to achieve just that. At Delmar Family Dental, we are more than happy to help you eliminate the barriers preventing you from achieving a healthier mouth.
If you would like to learn about the importance of flossing watch this quick video by Dr. Rivka Goldenhersh.