In August 2016, the news media reported that the US Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, which issue health and dietary guidelines for Americans, had eliminated tooth flossing from their officially recommended dental health guidelines. Some media reports have portrayed this change in guidelines as an indication that flossing does not result in improved dental health and is therefore not important. In fact, there’s more to the story.

What do dental experts say about flossing?

Both the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology recommend daily flossing as a vital part of oral hygiene. The American Dental Association website states that “interdental cleaners such as floss are an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums.” Additionally, a statement from the American Academy of Periodontology acknowledges that evidence from recent studies is not based on a large sample size of participants, and does not track the health of participants’ gums over a long period of time, but clearly states that patients should continue to include flossing as a part of their daily oral hygiene habit.

Do the dentists at Winchester Dental recommend daily flossing?

At Winchester Dental, we recommend daily flossing (along with twice-daily toothbrushing) as a key component of oral health and overall health. We have seen clear evidence among our patients that daily flossing reduces bleeding gums. Bleeding gums are one of the first indicators of gingivitis (early-stage gum disease), and existing medical research has shown a high correlation of periodontitis (later-stage gum disease) to high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and cancers. In addition, when gum disease progresses to the periodontitis stage, permanent bone and tissue loss around the teeth can occur.

Is it easy to floss? Where can I learn how to floss correctly?

Flossing takes only a few minutes, and it’s a good idea to floss just before you brush your teeth at night. This allows you to go to sleep with clean teeth and gums, reducing the opportunity for bacteria to multiply in your mouth while you sleep. Please click here for a helpful video on how to floss, and please remember that we are always happy to help you with flossing techniques when you visit our office!