Yes, keep flossing! Despite what was reported on the news we still strongly recommend that you floss daily, as do the American Dental Association (ADA) and health officials in the Federal Government. So don’t throw away your dental floss or interdental cleaners just yet!
Actually the press got it wrong and misinterpreted why something, that is Dental Floss, was left out of the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines. Truth is the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) figured out that you are not supposed to eat dental floss, so the DGAC removed it from their report, and then the press decides that must mean we don’t need dental floss anymore.
The Dietary Guidelines have no bearing on the longstanding recommendation from me, the Surgeon General, the CDC, and other health agencies to clean between teeth daily. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reaffirms the importance of flossing in an Aug. 4 statement to the ADA, which states:
“Flossing is an important oral hygiene practice. Tooth decay and gum disease can develop when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth and along the gum line. Professional cleaning, tooth brushing, and cleaning between teeth (flossing and the use of other tools such as interdental brushes) have been shown to disrupt and remove plaque. At HHS, NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), CDC’s Division of Oral Health and Healthy People 2020 have additional information and resources about efforts to address and improve oral health.”
The American Dental Association (ADA) says, “Interdental cleaners such as floss are an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums. Cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease from the areas where a toothbrush can’t reach. Interdental cleaning is proven to help remove debris between teeth that can contribute to plaque buildup. Together with food debris, water and other components, the plaque buildup around the teeth and on the gum line will contribute to disease in teeth and gums.”
So please floss or use another interdental cleaner daily, whichever is your personal preference. Talk to us about how to use these products for the best results.
To maintain good oral health, the American Dental Association continues to recommend brushing for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner and regular dental visits advised by your dentist.
If you want to learn more about flossing and other interdental cleaners you can also visit MouthHealthy.org, a website from the ADA.
Your friend, Dr. Chris Kim