Do I need to Floss?

photo of Dr. Michael Lose
Michael Lose, D.D.S.
Family Dentist Tree

Have you heard all the recent hype about not needing to floss anymore? Well, let’s look at what this is really about.

Since 1979, the federal government has recommended flossing. Last year, the associated press reviewed 25 studies that compared brushing alone versus brushing and flossing. This review concluded that the evidence for flossing was “weak and very unreliable.” As a result, the Department of Health and Human Services removed the flossing recommendation this year.

However, the American Dental Association (ADA) sites several other studies that show the benefits of flossing. The ADA and Family Dentist Tree will continue to recommend flossing on a daily basis. Flossing helps prevent gingivitis and tooth decay by removing the build up of plaque, a colony of bacteria that forms on our teeth. It also helps remove food that can get caught between your teeth.

In addition, by avoiding flossing you may see adverse effects on other areas of your general health, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even pregnancy outcomes. Another study concludes, “If you floss, you are likely to live six years longer.”