Family Health What the Health?

What the Health? I don’t have to floss?

“I don’t have time for flossing.”

“When I floss, my gums bleed, and it hurts!”

We’ve all heard the response to these common excuses:

“You know, if you make time for daily flossing, you won’t bleed, and it’ll hurt less.”

You nod and mutter a muffled “uh huh” in agreement, because you have the dental hygienist’s tools and fingers in your mouth – and because we all know that he or she is right.

Yet, somehow, six months go by. You’re mentally preparing for your next appointment, and the floss, which you had every intention in using, is sitting alone in the goodie bag in which it came.

There’s good news for people who repeatedly find themselves in this predicament. The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services removed flossing from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, because the evidence fails to show the effectiveness of flossing. Some argue that this is because researchers haven’t been able to follow enough participants over enough time – or that we’re just bad flossers.

“Flossing is not a highly technical skill,” said Dr. William Bachand, a dentist at Augusta University Dental Associates said, “but the fact is that many individuals do it incorrectly.”

In response to the announcement, non-flossers may feel relieved, while stakeholder organizations like the American Dental Association and American Academy of Periodontology are adhering to their beliefs about the importance of flossing.

“Dental professionals will continue to recommend flossing as part of an overall program designed to improve or maintain oral health,” Bachand said.

To floss or not to floss? That is the question.

The decision is still up to you. If you’re not an avid flosser, then feel no shame in your anti-flossing game. If you are, then floss away to your heart’s content!

“Who wants to attend an important meeting with a piece of broccoli between their front teeth, when a simple piece of floss could cure this unfortunate occurrence?” Bachand said. “Evidence may not support that this act helps populations at large, but it will certainly help you.”

Before you toss the floss, talk to your dentist.

To make an appointment with Augusta University Dental Associates, call 706-721-2696.

About the author

Augusta University Health

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.

1 Comment

  • There is also lack of evidence that Parachute use is effective to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge (http://www.bmj.com/content/327/7429/1459)
    not everything in life can be proven with randomized clinical trials…
    Lack of evidence does NOT indicate Lack of plausibility!
    The Dental College of Georgia Department of Periodontics highly recommends flossing your teeth at least once per day.

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