Let’s face it, no one likes to floss their teeth, which is why many skip out on daily flossing. With a recent news article by the Associated Press reporting that there is little to know evidence supporting the actual benefits of flossing, many now have another reason to skip this necessary step. While the recent news article may seem convincing, as a general dentist in Toledo, we are here to tell you that you must floss your teeth daily. Despite the claims written in this article, flossing is critical to preventing the onset of oral health complications, including gum disease.
Flossing Facts from Your Dentist in Toledo
According to the article by the Associated Press, they reported to have analyzed 25 case studies that took place over the past 10 years. The results of their findings concluded that flossing made very little impact on dental health. The article went on to say that the evidence that does support flossing is very weak and unreliable. However, while the American Academy of Periodontology does agree that science doesn’t really back the importance of flossing daily, they did say in a press release that the reason for the lack of evidence is due to the fact current studies do not actually measure true markers of gum health, including inflammation and clinical attachment loss.
In addition to the American Academy of Periodontology’s press release, the Academy of General Dentistry states that “flossing is the single most important weapon against plaque.” With plaque directly linked to causing gum disease, it is quite obvious that flossing remains important. So, why do major dental associations continue to support flossing despite the findings by the Associated Press article?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about half of Americans over 30 years of age and more than 70 percent of adults over the age of 65 have gum disease. This makes the disease one of the most common diseases in the United States. While the majority of evidence is anecdotal, the lack of scientific evidence is largely due to the fact only a small portion of adults actually floss their teeth daily. In addition, the lack of evidence is further impacted by poorly designed research protocols, gaps in dental assessments, and study periods that are too short. As a result, the studies for the benefits of flossing become weak.
However, despite conclusive proof of the benefits of flossing, health care professionals and dentists alike continue to support daily flossing because flossing daily helps to maintain the teeth long-term.
“There are short term studies that show that regular flossing reduces the prevalence of gingivitis,” said Scott Tomar from the University of Florida College of Dentistry. “One thing worth bearing in mind is the absence of evidence is not the equivalent to the abscess of effectiveness.”
As a family dentist in Toledo, we agree whole heartedly. While there may not be scientific evidence to support the benefits of flossing, the benefits we see in our office and the long-standing anecdotal benefits are proof enough. If you truly care about your teeth and gums, you will continue to floss daily.