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Do You Really Need to Floss?

Recently there has been a lot of talk as to whether or not flossing is essential to proper oral health.


Harvard Health Publishing put it best when it said, “Last year, the U.S. government’s dietary guidelines dropped the recommendation for regular teeth flossing. This action was not due to any new research refuting the benefit, but rather the fact that the existing research did not meet current standards for “proof” of benefit.

So…if the government stopped recommending regular flossing, does this mean you should stop all together?

Hold up.


Your dentist is still likely to recommend daily flossing. Why? 

Leena Palomo DDS, an associate professor of periodontics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio said, “While the research on [the connection between] flossing and cavities is hazy, the research on flossing’s role in preventing gum disease is much clearer…That’s why dentists, hygienists, and periodontists continue to recommend flossing.” Bits of food stuck between teeth can irritate gums, and flossing can rid your teeth of the gunk that contains bacteria that causes gum disease. About half of Americans have gum disease which, if goes untreated, can have major effects on your overall health.

However, you need to be careful when flossing! Proper flossing technique is key to maintaining healthy gums, otherwise you may cause more harm than good if you are flossing wrong.

lady woman flossing smile

Time explained how dentists and hygienists are taught how to floss saying, “the ADA recommends easing the floss between your teeth and, forming a C-shape around your tooth, slide the floss up and down.” If you’re worried you’re flossing wrong, there are other methods of what’s called “interdental cleaning” aka cleaning between your teeth. You can use an interdental brush or water flosser to clean between teeth.

If you’re unsure if you’re flossing correctly, or if you’re wary of other methods, talk to your dentist and they will be able to guide you in the right direction. Everyone’s mouth is different, so don’t shy away from finding out what will work best for you!

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