To Floss Or Not To Floss, That Is The Question
Recently the US Dietary Guidelines removed their previous recommendation to floss daily. The decision was made due to the lack of evidence in favor of flossing. In order for the US government to recommend something for your health there should be overwhelming scientific evidence to support their advice. Floss has been around since 1815, way before the world used research to support their claims. Hopefully this leads to further studies into flossing and its effectiveness in fighting tooth decay and gum disease but that may take years at this point.
The idea behind flossing is reasonable, you clean out the food debris and bacteria that are between the teeth as well as below the gums. By removing these irritants it should allow for healthier teeth and gums. I can tell you from my professional experience, when people add proper flossing to their daily routine, their gums bleed less and they tend to have lower plaque build-up on their teeth. Skeptical? If you don’t currently floss, give it a try for two weeks. The first few times you floss, your gums may bleed a little. By the end of the two weeks, this bleeding should be minimal or none at all. If this is not the case, you may have a more serious case of gum disease and should be evaluated by a dentist.
Proper flossing technique is important. Ideally you should be using the floss to “hug” the side of each tooth as you bring the floss below the gum tissue and massage the plaque and food out of the gum pockets. Here is a video on proper technique from the American Dental Association: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing