So, everyone in dentistry has been in a heated discussion over the past week and a half. The genesis of the discussion was when the Associated Press released an article last week titled ‘Medical Benefits Of Dental Floss Unproven’, and everyone lost their collective minds. Patients ran screaming through the streets as if they had won the lottery, and many dentists curled up in corners of their dental offices, sobbing uncontrollably, while article after article was released on the subject:
‘Forget the floss? Not so fast.’ ‘Flossing dilemma solved.’ ‘So, does Michael Phelps believe in flossing?’ Really? ‘Do we really need to floss? Dentists say yes, science says no.’ ‘Sorry Haters, You Do Have To Floss’ and on and on, so of course, we wanted to weigh in too.
In the original AP article, the author, Jeff Donn writes, “The federal government has recommended flossing since 1979, first in a surgeon general’s report and later in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans issued every five years…When the federal government issued its latest dietary guidelines this year, the flossing recommendation had been removed, without notice.”
I don’t know about any of you, but I am not leaving my teeth in the hands of the federal government. And if you stop flossing, your teeth will eventually end up in someone’s hands because they won’t be in your mouth for very much longer. Our opinion matches up with that of Matthew Messina DDS, “The dietary guidelines removing flossing actually kind of makes sense. Floss is not a food or drug. I don’t need federal guidelines to include flossing.”
Thankfully, some members of the dental community, and actual dentists that went through dental school, like Dr. Messina, continued to weigh in on the topic. The American Dental Association released a statement saying, “Interdental cleaners, such as floss are an essential part of taking care of our teeth and gums. Cleaning between teeth removed plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease from the areas where a toothbrush can’t reach.”
The AP report goes on to say, “In a letter to the AP, the government acknowledged the effectiveness of flossing had never been researched.” We thought it was self-explanatory that toothbrushes by themselves couldn’t clean the surfaces between the teeth, and that you needed floss to get in and clean those surfaces sufficiently, and Ronald Goldstein DDS, author of ‘Change Your Smile’ agreed, “It was so obvious centuries ago that flossing is necessary to help clean the teeth that it didn’t take research to prove it. They’re saying there are not sufficient long-term results with the flossing, there’s no evidence to support it, but logic takes over sometimes from lack of evidential research.”
To sum up our stance, plaque and food particles still get in between your teeth, and really the only way to get them out is to floss. So, yes, it is our recommendation that everyone still flosses, even though we know that is NOT what anyone wants to hear. If you still aren’t convinced, give us a call here at the office at 602-993-4200 or bring it up next time you are in for your appointment.