Moment of Tooth: Why You Still Need to Floss

There is an article circling the news known as “flossgate,” which claims that the evidence for flossing is flimsy and that flossing doesn’t remove plaque as suggested. Well, based on the evidence of countless dentists, all of us here at Vann Family Dental are sticking to our spools: you still need to floss.


The New York Times refers to one trial where professionals flossed the teeth of children on school days for almost two years, and those children whose teeth were flossed had a “40 percent reduction in the risk of cavities.” Yet children from the same school who self-reported flossing at home did not see the same benefit. Does this mean that flossing doesn’t work? The likelihood is that either the children weren’t being honest about their at-home flossing, or perhaps they weren’t flossing properly.

The Proper Way to Floss

When you do floss, you’re supposed to hug the tooth and gently slide the floss below the gum line. If you floss and find debris that sticks to your floss – this is proof enough that flossing is removing food particles from places that your toothbrush won’t reach. Any food debris left in your mouth is food for bacteria – the kind of harmful bacteria that leads to tooth decay and cavities.

When you don’t floss, you are only cleaning about 60 percent of your teeth. We know that flossing is a hard habit to start, but once you do, it will stick. If you are not in the habit yet, try flossing at least once a day, at any time of day. When you get into the habit, try to switch your flossing time to before you go to bed.

If you still have questions about the benefits of flossing, ask Dr. Vann at your next dental appointment or teeth cleaning. We can’t wait to see your smile!

For more information on flossing, call our friendly dental team today!

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