In recent years, a report in the US caused a stir by concluding that flossing your teeth didn’t actually provide proven health benefits. Based on a review of 25 studies, the report refuted the advice we have been given for decades by claiming there was a lack of evidence shown in the studies that flossing improves your oral health. Although this may seem to be great news for any of us who don’t floss our teeth on a regular basis, it is really true? Is it a myth that flossing should be part of our daily routines?
Before you celebrate that this is one less task to fit into your busy schedule, it’s important to note that the dental industry is not in agreement. While the US report was based on studies, dentists see first-hand the impact that regular flossing has on your teeth and gums. It’s a fact that each and every time we eat, food can and does get left between our teeth. And it is also a fact that this food debris contains bacteria that causes gum disease and tooth decay. Even the best toothbrushes can’t reach all of the pockets in-between teeth. Flossing is the best way to remove debris from between your teeth.
Dentists, Dental Hygienists and Periodontal experts all emphatically agree that flossing goes hand-in-hand with brushing for good oral health. And despite the US report, the link between flossing and the prevention of gum disease does have clear scientific evidence. Patients who are regular flossers have lower levels of gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. If left untreated, it can lead to periodontal disease, and is also linked to heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and many other health conditions. So not only does regular flossing help to maintain good oral health, it also plays a role in your overall health and wellbeing.
McIntosh Dental’s Dr Nitesh Gangadin, who has a special interest in periodontics, is a strong advocate of regular flossing. “In my experience there’s no question that my patients who floss regularly have healthier gums and teeth. In fact, I’ve seen patients reverse the early stages of tooth decay and gum disease when they incorporate flossing into their daily routine. This is fantastic as it can really save their teeth – not to mention avoiding expensive dental treatments further down the road.”
Dental Floss Options
There are a number of different product options available in addition to the traditional method of wrapping waxed dental floss around your fingers, including:
- Dental floss picks
- Flossers with disposable heads
- Water flossers
- Air flossers
- Small, straight interdental brushes which fit between your teeth
- Orthodontic floss
Talk to your McIntosh Dental Dentist or Dental Hygienist about which option will be right for you. They can also show you the best technique for flossing.