For most news junkies, the recent news reports about flossing were rather confusing. In short, the efficacy of dental flossing was being questioned. For dental professionals, it was necessary to have some answers for their bewildered patients. For many, it was more of the same – on one day being told that coffee is good for you, on the next day not so good – one day Vitamin C was great for a cold, the next day not so great. It was similar with dental flossing. While most every dentist encouraged regular flossing, the profession as a whole was presenting a totally opposite view.
Agree or not, it makes far more sense to floss than not. As it is, it’s difficult enough to maintain the highest level of daily oral care, so why reduce any additional effort? The fact is, it’s recommended that teeth get brushed three times a day. But even without flossing, how many patients can really attest to that daily regimen? The bottom line is that everything helps, especially because of today’s lifestyle habits. Interdental cleaning is simply essential to oral care. It’s a means to better clean between the teeth – those same areas that regular conventional brushing might miss out.
The key to oral health is to do what works, and for some even doing the basics can be challenging. Daily brushing (even the three times rule) is absolutely essential, if only to remove food particles and residual plaque. As for flossing, whether recommended or not, it works well for some and can be a real pain for others. But there are no excuses – if not string floss, then a floss holder of some type. These types of devices make it much easier for someone who finds traditional floss difficult. As for the results, here again, every effort in maintaining good oral care is worthwhile.
Today, even flossing has become automated. For those inclined, an electric water flosser or air flosser might be the ideal option. Both of these devices are designed for interdental cleaning, and will gently force debris from between teeth. Indeed, with the water-flossing device, there’s also the added bonus of massaging the gums. Needless to say, none of these methods should replace conventional tooth brushing – they are all aids that should be used in conjunction with brushing, and as an alternative to flossing (for those who just can’t get into the flossing rhythm).
Any dentist will admit that removing 100% of plaque is nearly impossible. At the same time, it’s important to do everything possible to fully clean between the teeth and under the gums. This is simply a preventive approach to dental health, trying to reduce dangerous plaque residue, as well as the potential for disease and/or decay. For the dentist or dental hygienist who believe in doing everything possible, dental health and interdental maintenance makes for the ideal combination. After all, personal lifestyle, age and diet are working together to challenge dental health.