To floss or not to floss appears to be an easy question, or is it? Who better to ask than your very own hygienist? While many peoples first instinct is to choose the toothbrush, our dental hygienist says you may be making the wrong decision.
A recent report from the Associated Press, concluded that there isn’t a compelling reason to floss, stating that the recommendation lacks any evidence that flossing actually helps. Despite the recent articles, when this question was posed to our dental hygienist at The DC Dentist, she without hesitation chose dental floss. While acknowledging that in addition to seeing your dentist at least twice per year, both are equally important in maintaining optimal oral health, she meticulously explained that dental floss is the only way to rid our mouths of the dangerous culprit responsible for setting into motion the decline of our overall dental health- Biofilm. Biofilm is the plaque that forms on your teeth and causes tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Biofilm is a slimy glue like substance that thrives in moist environments. The bacteria can attach to virtually any surface, including your teeth and oral tissues and dental floss is the only way to remove biofilm from between teeth where most cavities begin to form.
Dental flossing should always be done in tandem with regular brushing and regular six month visits to the dentist and it is important that both are given equal priority in maintaining your overall oral health.
Unmonitored biofilm can lead to gingivitis, which then leads to inflamed gums. Inflamed gums can then lead to periodontal disease which causes bone loss. Bone loss and resorption causes teeth to become loose and ultimately lost. Also, oral bacteria contributes to the narrowing of artery walls which can cause heart disease. None of this is worth the risk.
Dr. Terry Victor, a holistic, biological and eco-friendly dentist based in Washington, DC:
“As a dentist and despite this recent article citing the small number of studies, sample sizes, and some concerns regarding interpretation of the results, I will continue telling my patients in addition to visiting their dentist every six months, to floss daily. Dentists know immediately, by examining a patient’s mouth, whether they’re flossing or not. The impact of flossing in my patients is undeniable. Since this study has become public, I’ve spoken to many of my patients who’ve been eager to talk about it. Some have even began excusing and justifying their lack of diligence in this area by citing this recent study as liberation. They fail to realize that weak evidence for flossing doesn’t necessarily translate to mean that flossing is totally ineffective.
If done properly, at the very minimum, flossing is a low–cost and low-risk procedure that helps to prevent tooth decay that can originate from the presence of acid-producing bacterial biofilm between teeth. Cavities easily form between teeth due to the lack of flossing. I’ve seen the difference in flossing in my own mouth and definitely in the mouths of my patients. If we can dislodge plaque build-up and prevent gum disease, we can help patients maintain healthy teeth and gums for life. These benefits then translate into the patient’s overall health. Dental floss remains an essential tool to use within my practice.”
The DC Dentist’s mission is for everyone to maintain healthy teeth and gums for life. Through oral health education, regular dental check-ups, brushing, along with proper flossing techniques, we wish for everyone to achieve optimal overall health. Dr. Victor and staff recommend flossing, brushing, and rinsing after each meal whenever possible and visiting The DC Dentist at least twice per year.