Flossing – Not Just Good For Your Teeth And Gums, But Your Overall Health, Too

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Flossing has made big headlines recently as several news outlets have questioned whether scientific research proves that flossing benefits a patient’s oral health. The truth is, flossing does make a difference, and we continue to recommend that our patients floss daily, despite the media coverage. Wurzbach Parkway Family Dental is dedicated to being a premier dental provider with a focus on preventive dentistry. We believe that preventive dentistry begins in a patient’s home with a consistent, oral hygiene routine.

 

These news reports are due to flossing being removed from the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines. However, this change was a marketing decision rather than a change in stance on flossing. In fact, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC)1 has announced the removal was due to a deliberate decision to focus its outreach efforts on food and nutrient intake. This is one of the major sources for the news reports that questioned the effectiveness and benefits of flossing.

 

If you don’t floss you miss cleaning 35% of your tooth’s surface! The space in between your teeth is also one of the most common areas for food to get stuck during meals. This food debris is what more that 500 bacteria species are hiding in plaque feed off of in your mouth. Without cleaning this area, the combination of food debris, bacterial waste, water, and plaque build up around your teeth along your gum-line. This process is what leads to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. This is the reasons our office follows this golden rule…

 

“You don’t have to floss all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep.

 

One of the biggest risks patients take by not brushing twice per day and flossing daily is developing periodontal disease. Flossing is one of your best assets in avoiding periodontitis. It’s common knowledge that periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss, but modern medicine is showing that it plays a significantly bigger role in our oral and overall health. In fact, periodontitis has recently been linked to esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, Alzheimer’s, oral cancer, diabetes, chronic inflammation, heart disease, and stroke.

 

According to the American Dental Association2, flossing and other interdental cleaners are a vital part of maintaining good oral and overall health by removing plaque from in between the teeth. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) released a Press Release stating that they still hold flossing as an essential part of an effective oral hygiene routine.

 

Despite the news reports, we stand with the American Dental Association and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in recommending that each patient flosses daily. This should be a part of your everyday oral health routine, along with brushing twice daily for two minutes. If you or anyone you know has questions or would like more information about flossing’s efficiency and health benefits, please don’t hesitate to contact your dental providers at Wurzbach Parkway Family Dental today.

References: 

Link1: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/02-executive-summary.asp

Link2: http://www.ada.org/en/press-room/news-releases/2016-archive/august/statement-from-the-american-dental-association-about-interdental-cleaners?source=PromoSpots&medium=ADAHomeRotator&content=Flossing

Link3: http://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2016-archive/august/association-responds-to-news-story-challenging-benefits-of-dental-floss-use?nav=news

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