Do You Really Need to Floss?

Published by Cashion Dental on October 28, 2016

Do You Really Need to Floss?

If you have been paying attention to major media outlets recently you may have heard some buzz that suggests flossing isn’t as important as you’ve always been told it is. This may have even struck you as fantastic news—most people don’t really enjoy the act of flossing, after all!

However, as your local College Station dentists, the Cashion Dental team would urge you to be a bit more cautious before you start throwing all your floss away.

The assertion of the mainstream media is little more that the studies promoting the benefits of floss are “weak.” Yet no corresponding “strong” study has been done to prove flossing doesn’t have benefits.

In the meantime, common sense would tell you that if you want to clean plaque off the front and back of your teeth in order to prevent tooth decay then you’d want to get it off every surface of your teeth, including the surfaces your brush does not normally reach. In addition, the media criticizes studies for being too short…but those self-same studies did show gum inflammation in those who didn’t floss over the two and three week periods during which they were conducted.

If gums can get inflamed in such a short period of time, try to imagine what they’d look like after a year or more of neglecting a daily dental floss regimen.

So here are a few thoughts to keep in mind.

We don’t get kickbacks for giving you dental floss.

The idea that dentists get some sort of financial gain out of giving out little dental floss freebies at our offices is just downright silly, but it’s been promoted in several news articles anyway.

Buying dental floss and giving it away is part of our overhead. We just want you to take care of your teeth. If you’ve decided you’re never going to floss again because you are afraid of increasing our profits, please put your mind at ease. Truthfully, you’re going to increase our profits if you don’t floss, because gum disease and cavities ensure you need a lot more oral surgery to keep your teeth in your mouth where they belong.

Flossing doesn’t take that long.

Some of our patients complain that it takes them a really long time to floss. But flossing should only take you a minute or two in the morning, and another minute or two at night. You probably spend more time deciding what to watch on Netflix; and Netflix doesn’t offer as many opportunities for you to protect your health.

If flossing is difficult, try using floss picks instead of traditional, “string” floss.

Even dentists will acknowledge that traditional “string” floss is a pain. The string can be a bit painful when wound around the fingertips. Floss picks are a perfectly acceptable alternative. The idea is just to get the string between your teeth so you can work the plaque out of there.

Just make sure you work the pick the same way: scrubbing up and down the surface of the tooth, and then getting in below the gum line.

If you really, really can’t take it, use a water pick.

Water picks are really supposed to be a supplement to flossing, not a substitution for them. They do not remove plaque with enough force to get all of it. The mechanical motion of flossing is generally far more effective. However, if you have to choose between using a water pick and doing nothing at all, reach for the water pick. If you can stand it then the combination of brushing, flossing, and using a water pick can be a fantastic way to keep your teeth incredibly healthy. At that point you are doing almost everything you can do to keep your mouth free of plaque and debris. If you wanted to do everything you’d avoid sugary sweets and soda.

At that point, you would really only be likely to get gum disease or cavities if you had fantastically bad luck or hereditary issues. But you wouldn’t be taking any chances with your dental health (and your breath would be fresher, too).

Or you can take the word of journalists who think that “stop flossing” makes a sensational headline. But we suspect you’ll be spending a lot more time in our office if you do. Remember, flossing is cheaper than fillings!