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Fact or Fiction? Flossing Has No Proven Health Benefits

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Breaking News: Medical benefits of dental floss unproven.

You may have noticed various media outlets reporting something along these lines. Believe it or not, the original source of this story wasn't The Onion or some other tabloid publication - it was The Associated Press. In an effort to refute the claim that flossing daily is a major factor in combating gum disease, the AP stated it looked at government research to conclude daily flossing has little to no benefit on an individual's oral health.

Does this mean it’s time to throw your floss in the trash? Not so fast! Here’s a closer look into the benefits and necessity of flossing.

The Facts: Why Flossing is Absolutely Essential

Flossing is already something people generally don't enjoy doing. It's estimated nearly 60 percent of all people don't floss. In fact, the American Academy of Periodontology state the majority of Americans would rather wash a sink-full of dirty dishes than floss their teeth.

Reading a published report from a reputable outlet claiming there’s no need to floss may have caused you to jump for joy. However, it’s simply not true.  

You absolutely need to incorporate flossing into your daily oral care routine. Dental flossing provides two key benefits:

Benefit #1: Flossing reaches areas your tooth brush can’t.

Flossing removes food stuck between your teeth and plaque that has a tendency to build up along the teeth and gum line. Contrary to what many people believe, cavities don't just form on the tooth's surface. Tooth decay can also form on the sides of the teeth, too. For that reason, daily flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth. Both work together to keep your mouth healthy.

Benefit #2: Flossing can prevent more serious health issues.

Plaque is the film that builds up on your teeth and contains millions of bacteria. If the bacteria found in plaque aren't removed from the mouth, it can irritate the gum line and lead to gingivitis. When left untreated, plaque may travel down beneath the surface of the gums, leading to periodontitis. This is characterized as severe gum disease. Common side effects include tooth loss and bone loss (not to mention inflamed and bleeding gums).

Periodontal disease doesn't just affect the mouth either. Studies have shown it is also linked to heart disease and the onset of diabetes, among other conditions.

Bottom line: Don't throw away your floss – use it!

Don't take the AP report for its word. Flossing is common sense and absolutely beneficial to your oral health. Dentists recommend you do it at least once daily to complement your tooth brushing.

It's a key part of a healthy, effective oral care routine. Here are a few flossing tips to maximize its effectiveness.

For more information about the importance of flossing, contact Caven Dental today.

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