Do You Really Need to Floss Daily?

For as long as you can remember, your dentist may have recommended flossing on a daily basis. For many decades, flossing was believed to be the best way to remove plaque, food debris and other elements from the hard-to-reach areas between your teeth. These are areas where your toothbrush seemingly cannot reach. With proper care of your teeth and gums, you can prevent cavities, gum disease and more for the overall health and well-being of your mouth. However, you may be wondering if you really need to floss daily as recommended or if this is overkill. After all, flossing can take a lot of time and effort, and it can be particularly challenging to floss the teeth in the back of your mouth.

The Department of Health Recommendation
Recently, the Department of Health has issued a statement that flossing is no longer recommended on a daily basis. The department analyzed more than 25 separate studies on the activity, and they have determined that there is no true and substantial benefit associated with flossing and that brushing your teeth and regular dental visits alone may be all that you need to take care of your teeth and gums. This was the first time that studies have been conducted on the benefits of flossing, and previous recommendations for flossing were unfounded, according to the Department of Health. For those who do not enjoy flossing, this may be seemingly good news.

Your Dentist's Recommendation
However, while it is important to review the recommendation of the Department of Health, it is also important to heed the advice of your dentist. If your dentist is like many others, he or she may still recommend flossing. Flossing continues to be a great way to remove food and plaque that are stuck between teeth. Regular dental cleanings at your dentist's office can remove these items as well, but you may have six months or longer between visits when this gunk can build up. Over time, this can indeed cause cavities, irritate gums and more. Furthermore, one study reviewed did indicate that flossing can reduce gum irritation, which ultimately could lead to gum disease. While it may no longer be recommended by the Department of Health, it may still be a healthy practice that is recommended by your dentist.

The overall health and well-being of your teeth and gums can impact everything from your cosmetic appearance to heart and total body health. You understandably want to take excellent care of teeth and gums. While there may be mixed reviews about the benefits of flossing, there is no contraindication to flossing. With this in mind, you have nothing to lose by continuing to floss as recommended by your dentist. If you would like to learn more, the New Sudbury Dental website is a great reference for additional information and resources.