By Joy Driscoll, RDH, BS
If you have been following the “F” word in dentistry (FLOSSING!), you are probably aware that when the federal government issued its latest dietary guidelines this year, the flossing recommendation had been removed, without notice. In a letter to the Associated Press, the government acknowledged the effectiveness of flossing had never been researched, as required. Whaaat?
Let’s talk about how this happened as daily flossing has been a firm recommendation by the federal government since 1979. Here it is: the alleged benefits of flossing had never been properly studied, meaning the studies were not designed with the proper number of people or the study was not long enough to acknowledge the benefits of flossing. The American Dental Association followed the headlines with this statement “The bottom line for dentists and patients is that lack of strong evidence doesn’t equate to lack of effectiveness”.
I would like to emphasize this because as a dental health care provider for 20 years, I have seen the benefits of flossing first hand to keep away cavities, gum disease and infection, bad breath and decreased inflammation in the oral cavity. Recently Waterpiking has become popular for the “floss haters” and I have seen many benefits of keeping oral disease away with this tool as well.
If you are not yet convinced, the reasons to keep flossing (or Waterpiking) include:
• Save Money— Recent studies tell us that keeping a healthy mouth correlates to reducing inflammation in the entire body. A roll of floss is a small investment compared to treating disease in the mouth and body.
• Fend Off Bad Breath— Flossing allows you to go up to 1-2 millimeters under the gum tissue to reach where bacteria are colonizing and can cause bad breath. There are 700 different types of bacteria in the average person’s mouth!
• Reduce Your Chances of Tooth Decay— Bacteria and plaque live between your teeth and if you floss daily, you decrease the chances of developing unsightly tooth decay. Plaque starts to build up right after you floss, so it’s important to remove it every day.
• Keeping Gum Disease and Infection Away— The number one cause of tooth loss is gum disease, not tooth decay. The first sign of gum disease is red, swollen, and bleeding gums. The treatment used to treat this is called Periodontal therapy and can cost 1000 times more than a roll of floss (back to the saving money part!).
Live long and floss, my friends!
Mention that you saw Joy’s ad in Regenerate and receive $100 off of in-office whitening.