What dentist have you visited that hasn’t flossed your teeth during a cleaning and heavily encouraged –maybe even nagged — you about flossing your teeth?
Flossing, a staple for better oral and dental health, and a practice encouraged by dentists everywhere, came under fire in the media a few weeks ago. The flossing haters were cheering while the flossing devotees were wondering if their efforts have been for naught.
With much media chatter, there have been endless analogies made related to flossing and why it should continue to be part of your daily routine. The “dirty dish” analogy struck a chord with us, effectively describing why flossing IS a good idea: would you clean half a dinner dish and leave food stuck on the other half, place it back in your cupboard, and use that same dish again for your next meal? Do we need a study to tell us that this is unhealthy (and, gag) really gross?
The American Dental Association has promoted flossing universally since 1908. The Federal Government Dietary Guidelines have recommended flossing since 1979. So how could it be that the updated Federal Government Dietary Guideline eliminated flossing altogether? Is flossing a scam? Have dentists (everywhere) been wrong to promote flossing?
Since the government cited studies that suggest there is no real medical benefit to flossing, and since they recently came out with the recommendation to discontinue flossing, many dentists disagree. Dr. Sumeen Maur of DC Smiles says, “The main problem with the studies surrounding flossing is how these studies were conducted. The studies are limited and there is no way to track if each participant was consistent in flossing and using proper technique.”
Dr. Maur adds, “Flossing does help prevent gingivitis, plaque build-up, calcification, and assists in removing food caught between teeth. When you brush your teeth you are cleaning about 60 percent of your tooth surface, leaving 40 percent untouched. Flossing will clean the 40 percent.”
Flossing is low cost, easy to do, and a great preventative measure in better oral health. Many cavities hide between teeth. Dentists use bitewing x-rays to identify possible decay and problems found in those tight, but not sealed, spaces between teeth. Let’s be honest, who hasn’t flossed and pulled out a piece of steak or other food particle stuck in those tiny, open spaces. Literally, the proof is on the floss.
So don’t pitch the floss just yet….keep doing (or start doing!) what dentists have encouraged for years.
Whether you are a flossing hater, doubter, or devotee, you are invited to stop by our office to pick-up a FREE container of floss! DC Smiles is located at 809 Cameron Street.
We welcome Dr. Sumeen Maur to DC Smiles. Dr. Maur holds an undergraduate degree from Furman, attended dental school at the Medical University of South Carolina and completed her residency at the University of Florida in St. Petersburg. Dr. Maur joined DC Smiles mid-summer and is loving her growing patient base. She enjoys reading, running and exploring the DC/NOVA area in her free time.