Charlotte, NC, Family Dental Services  
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A troubling news article was released by the Associated Press last week in the New York Times that questions the medical benefits of flossing and has sparked a nationwide discussion. Many of you may have read this article or heard about it on the TV/radio. The article comes from a well-respected news source, and claims that researchers and floss manufacturers offer “weak, very unreliable” evidence supporting that flossing is beneficial, even citing that “floss can occasionally cause harm.” However, before you start to believe these claims or get excited that there’s an article seemingly telling you that there may be no substantial reason for you to floss anymore, please consider the following information…

The purpose of flossing is to remove plaque/debris from in between teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach. It has long been advocated by the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and the American Dental Association (ADA) that if plaque/tartar stays in between the teeth for prolonged periods it can lead to gum disease. So how does this happen? Oral bacteria feed on the plaque/tartar left behind, creating toxic by­products that trigger a destructive tissue reaction that leads to gum inflammation, bleeding, soreness, and redness; eventually that reaction intensifies and initiates bone loss. If plaque/tartar is not removed from in between the teeth, the toxic bacterial by­products can also trigger destructive reactions on the teeth and cause cavities.  The presence of plaque in between and around the teeth is proven to increase your risk for gum disease and cavities, which is why dentists, nationally recognized dental organizations, and many public health initiatives around the world advocate daily brushing and flossing.

Click this link to learn the recommended techniques for flossing that are recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA).

In response to the claims made in this New York Times article, the American Dental Association (ADA) and American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) have released statements reaffirming that flossing is a recommended oral hygiene practice. Click the links below to read their official statements.

New York Time Article

American Dental Association Statement

American Academy of Periodontology Statement