To Floss or Not to Floss?
by Linh Cao-Chan, DDS on 09/21/16
That is the question many are asking after the Department of Health and Human Services stopped recommending flossing as part of healthy living guideline. A review of 12 trials showed that flossing helped minimally with removing plaque after 1-3 months of study. So is this a free pass for you to throw away that floss? Sorry, NO. This study only look at short term 3 months effect of removing plaque, and does not look at the long term like 12 months. It didn't look at flossing in reducing gingivitis (gum inflammation & bleeding) and gum disease. It didn't look at flossing in reducing cavities in between the teeth. Those benefits are known to you and I. We've all experienced how our gums are more tender and bleeds more when we don't floss often. It's true there are conflicting studies about health out there- none of these studies are perfect. One can cherry-pick to believe in which studies to fit our outlook and preference. As your dentist, I will still recommend daily flossing so don't even think about skipping it! And personally, I floss before I brush- just feels cleaner that way.