Believe it or not, there has been a bit of a groundswell online – especially on social media – of information telling people that flossing is nothing but a waste of time and that by flossing people are actually exposing their smile to more risks and more danger than they would be if they continued to floss on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, this news has caught wildfire, spread like crazy, and we have a lot of people out there really wondering whether or not it’s a waste of time to floss or if they are actually damaging their teeth, their gums, and their smile by flossing on a regular basis.
This mess has been spreading so far and so fast that even the Associated Press has released a number of articles fighting back against this crazy contention. The AP has gone right at those perpetrating this nonsense, showing that the original article – showing what happened to a control set of teeth (false teeth) when just a toothbrush was used versus a toothbrush with dental floss on a regular basis – to be filled with pseudoscience and some pretty big leaps to false conclusions.
The American Dental Association has jumped headfirst into the fray as well, fighting back against what can be truly disastrous advice if people choose to follow it. Young people in particular should be flossing far more regularly than the studies suggest they are, flossing at least twice a day and ideally once after each meal that they eat throughout the day.
For one reason or another, the ADA and their efforts combined with the AP article haven’t been able to go viral quite as quickly or quite as widespread as the false narrative. This has reminded people of that famous saying “a lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even put its pants on”, but dentists, dental professionals, orthodontists, and dental researchers are concerned that people are going to begin parroting this horrible advice and pushing people to give up on flossing when it can mean the difference between keeping your original teeth and going without.
Should you spend your time flossing?
The AP article come through research dating back to 2001, searching for ANY instances of dentists or dental professionals advising their patients or the public that they should stop flossing because of how dangerous or disastrous they proposed it was.
Unbelievably, they weren’t able to come up with even a single article, which really shows that this is the epitome of a false narrative peddled by third-party actors looking to get people to give up on a healthy habit that is saving their teeth.
On top of that, the AP has found numerous studies that show those that do not floss on a regular basis are the dental service patients with the highest instances of tooth decay and gum disease. A significant portion of those that self identify as folks that do not floss all that often have lost teeth already, are planning to have teeth pulled in the future, and are dealing with gingivitis that is widespread and almost impossible to effectively control.
The AP and the ADA have yet to figure out exactly who is behind this misinformation campaign, but they have found that it seems to be pushed forward by those that just don’t want to have to deal with flossing any longer. Essentially those that need any excuse they can find NOT to floss in the first place!
Flossing is a core part of keeping your smile healthy
At the end of the day, flossing is at least as important as brushing your teeth on a routine basis and perhaps even more important if you want to keep the teeth that you already have in your head.
Flossing is the number one way to fight back against the leading cause of tooth decay, which is the buildup of plaque between our teeth. You’ve likely seen plaque when you did floss, as it’s that white and sticky substance that you can pull from between your teeth and the surface of your teeth on a regular basis with the help of floss.
If that film is allowed to build up and grow, it feeds bad bacteria, breaks down the enamel of our teeth (particularly in between our teeth where our toothbrush will not reach), and eventually leads to the destruction, decay, and death of the teeth that are most impacted.
The best way to fight back against tooth decay is to floss on a regular basis in conjunction with brushing your teeth every morning and every night. You’ll want to try and shoot for flossing your teeth periodically throughout the day as well (especially right after you eat), working to keep food that you have consumed out of the gaps and crevices in your smile.
Swish around with an antiseptic liquid (like Listerine) on top of brushing and flossing and you’re able to really go for the knockout punch!