Yes, The Government Says You Still Need To Floss

Flossing is Important for Gum and Tooth Health

If you find it a bit surprising that a dentist’s office is, once again, stating that flossing is important, you might be out of the loop.
Back in January, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) published their most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, but for the first time ever they omitted any mention of flossing in regards to health. This mostly went unnoticed until August, when the media asked the American Dental Association (ADA) if flossing was actually still important at all, citing a lack of solid research or evidence about flossing’s effects.

The ADA responded the next day, stating for the record that they still support flossing as a healthy practice, and that “… a lack of evidence doesn’t equate to a lack of effectiveness.” The advisory committee that crafted the new Guidelines further reaffirmed the ADA’s position, stating that they never meant to say that flossing isn’t important and that it is essential to oral health.

What Does This Mean and Why Should I Care?

Basically, the ADA felt that leaving flossing out of the guidelines was the same as the U.S. government saying that flossing was not important – and the news decided to make a story out of it.

As the false information gets shared, more and more people stop flossing as a result: according to a study in 2015, 25% of Americans lie to their family dentist about flossing, and almost half would rather do something they find unpleasant than floss, like cleaning a toilet or sitting in traffic.

The bottom line to remember for your sake and your family’s sake is that flossing is a necessary and important part of your daily oral hygiene.

Okay, What Now?

Now that we’ve cleared up whether or not flossing is good for you, let’s go over why flossing is good for you:

  • After eating, particles of your food are left behind on your teeth, and start to form plaque – a sticky, bacteria-filled substance that you may recognize when your teeth feel “furry.”
  • Plaque can cause all sorts of issues in your teeth, mouth, and gums as it leads to teeth staining, bad breath, gum disease, tartar, and even losing your teeth if left unchecked.
  • While brushing may get the majority of plaque that forms on your teeth and gums, flossing is needed to get to the plaque that forms in between your teeth and underneath your gum line.

There are several different tools for flossing, from string to water picks, and each has a varying degree of success when it comes to oral health, but most dental experts agree that you need to floss once a day – no exceptions.

How Do I Floss Correctly?

There is an actual technique to flossing that you should follow:

  • Gently guide the floss between your teeth, and use a rubbing motion.
  • When you get to your gums, curve your floss into a “C” shape, and slide it under the gum line.
  • Rub the floss against your tooth, bringing the floss away and back against the tooth, while going up and down.
  • Use this method between all of your teeth – and no skipping the last tooth!

Get a Flossing Refresher at Hamby Family Dental

Want professional demonstration, a refresher course, or someone to show your family the right way to floss? Make an appointment with Hamby Family Dental Center for a checkup, and ask us to show you the proper way. Call us at (919) 552-2431 or fill out our contact form.