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Flossing chauvin dental lafayette la

Why you should continue flossing

The first week of August, the news was inundated with a story about flossing. In case you missed it, the article stated that the medical benefits of flossing had been unproven. As a result, flossing was removed from the government’s latest dietary guidelines. Many different studies were cited, and the results can be boiled down to the following: “The majority of available studies fail to demonstrate that flossing is generally effective in plaque removal.” We respectfully disagree. Flossing is a very important component of proper oral hygiene! Here’s why you need to keep flossing.

Flossing affects longevity

Flossing can actually help you live longer! We all know that oral and heart disease are closely linked: an unhealthy mouth is going to negatively affect cardiovascular health. Flossing is actually recommended by the geriatrician who created the Living to 100 Life Expectancy calculator.

The Leisure World Cohort Study also determined that flossing affected longevity. After following over 5,600 older adults for a decade, they found that adults who didn’t floss had a 25% – 29% higher risk of death than those that did floss.

Flossing helps with bad breath

Every time we eat, food particles get stuck between our teeth. And the best brushing in the world will never remove it all. If the food isn’t removed, it begins to decay. There are thousands of bacteria in our mouths, and when we leave food between our teeth, we’re just leaving them lunch! When certain bacteria eat, they also produce noxious gases. Between the two, a person’s breath could get pretty nasty.

The original story is misleading

The story doesn’t say that flossing has no benefits, merely that the evidence supporting those benefits is based on poor-quality studies. The argument being that basically, because the studies that support flossing were not “high quality”, their results can be ignored. The Cochrane review (a source that reviewed the studies) actually recommends flossing, and states: “There is some evidence from 12 studies that flossing in addition to toothbrushing reduces gingivitis compared to toothbrushing alone.”

Flossing is still very important. You can use traditional floss, a water flosser, an interdental brush, or a floss pick, as long as you’re flossing! Although we recommend regular floss, anything is better than nothing at all. Only using mouthwash isn’t going to cut it. If you don’t know how to floss properly, or have more questions, call Dr. Chauvin’s office! We’ll be happy to show you the right way to floss!

Why Flossing Is So Important

Raise your hand if you have been to the dentist and lied when he or she asked – “Have you been flossing regularly?”  Even though we feel the need to say ‘Yes,’ that still doesn’t give us the kick we need to go home and floss everyday as the American Dental Association recommends. [source: ADA]. While brushing your teeth twice a day will go a long way toward maintaining oral health, you’re not getting the optimal cleaning if you leave the floss unused in the back of your medicine cabinet.

While the toothbrush works by physically removing plaque with its bristles and the toothpaste enhances the effect of the toothbrush by reducing the amount of bacteria in your mouth –  there is a big drawback: A toothbrush’s bristles can’t adequately clean between the teeth or under the gums [source: ADA].

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What does flossing do?

Flossing helps remove debris between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it has a chance to harden into plaque.  Plaque that is not removed can harden into tartar and can only be removed through a professional cleaning by a dental professional. When this happens, brushing and cleaning between teeth become more difficult, and gum tissue can become swollen or may bleed. This condition is called gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, and if left unchecked, the bacteria-laden tartar and plaque can spread even deeper below the gum line, causing periodontitis.

  This expensive snowball effect can be avoided by flossing.

When is the best time to floss?

According to the American Dental Association, you can floss either before or after brushing.  However, if you use dental floss before you brush, the fluoride from the toothpaste has a better chance of reaching between teeth. Unlike brushing, you only need to floss once a day. Although you may choose to do it in the morning or afternoon, many prefer to floss at night to prevent food and debris from remaining in the crevices of the teeth overnight. This could prevent the build-up of plaque too.

 

How to choose the right floss

When picking a floss it’s easy to get overwhelmed with how many varieties there are.  All floss types work well when used daily but it is important to know the differences in teeth and what works best for your type. There is waxed, unwaxed, tape, ultra floss and flossing picks – just to name a few. 

A few helpful tips when choosing:

  • Large gaps? Try dental tape 
  • Not much space between your teeth? Try waxed floss to slide into those tight spaces.
  • Want less mess? Look for disposable flossers 
  • Braces or bridges? A spongy floss is a good option

 

It is important to remember to floss everyday and if you need a reason there are plenty to choose from!  Maybe you want fresher breath or whiter teeth  – whatever your reason just START FLOSSING!