This blog is a response to an article published in the New York Times on August 2, 2016: Feeling Guilty About Not Flossing? Maybe There’s No Need by Catherine Saint Louis. She discusses how the Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services have recently dropped its recommendation that people floss daily. The reason being that there is currently a lack of long term studies linking daily flossing to decreases in gingivitis, periodontal disease, and dental decay. Once this news made headlines, many of our patients asked us what our opinion is on these recent changes.
Should You Floss Daily or Less?
In short, both of us recommend to our patients to continue daily flossing. It is generally easy for us to determine which of our patients floss daily and those who do not. The reason being that people who do not floss regularly generally have gums that bleed easily. The reason this occurs is that when plaque and food debris are not removed from the interproximal surfaces of your teeth an inflammatory process will start. The most common signs of this inflammation is red gingiva that easily bleeds and swollen papilla. Mechanical removal of this plaque from conventional flossing, floss picks, flossers, or Waterpik is essential in maintaining healthy gingiva.
Also, many diseases today are linked to chronic inflammation (diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, etc.). Although it has not been proven that there is a definitive link between gingival inflammation and the diseases stated above, empirically we believe any steps to reduce systemic inflammation can benefit your overall health.
So keep flossing those teeth!