Why we may not need to floss -but why we should still brush

Just how much do you know about teeth?

Oral health is an important aspect to everyone’s life. Nobody likes a cavity, and poor oral heath can lead to a multitude of other health problems. As much as we value our teeth and attempt to maintain a strict dental regime, many people find themselves slipping up from time to time. Many of us have experienced that onset of guilt you feel when you are sitting in the dentist’s chair and he asks you about your brushing habits. We all know that people are supposed to brush and floss twice daily, don’t we?

For years, we have been encouraged to practice regular flossing. Flossing helps dislodge the loose pieces of food that get stuck in between your teeth that your brush can’t get. Dentists always blame poor flossing habits for when your gums bleed during cleanings. It helps strengthens your gums, keeps away cavities, and should be an important part to everyone’s dental routine… or should it?

After demands issued by the Associated Press (AP) demanding evidence in support of flossing, the United States federal government has actually removed flossing recommendations that encouraged flossing. It turns out when reviewing old studies that concluded that flossing had immense benefits they were not really reliable. Many of them used old and outdated methods that wouldn’t pass today's research standards for publishing a solid link between flossing and tooth decay prevention. Many of the studies had vague measurements or even very small sample sizes. In fact, recent research fails to support flossing at all above just brushing alone.

Just because flossing doesn’t seem to have the benefits many of us have been brought up to believe doesn’t mean that you should just abandoned your oral health routine all together. There is still very strong evidence in support of brushing your teeth. Brushing your teeth can significantly decrease the likelihood of tooth decay. Brushing cleans away food particles, decreases the chance of tooth decay, helps restore essential minerals (with toothpaste), and keeps your gums healthy. Or rather, brushing properly does all of these things.

While there may be no solid links between flossing and oral health, practicing proper brushing techniques is essential to keeping a healthy smile. If you don’t brush right you may not only limit how well you are taking care of your dental health, your brushing can actually be detrimental. Using the wrong tooth brush, brushing at the wrong angle, or even applying too much pressure can damage enamel and irritate your gum line. For advice on how to practice proper brushing technique, check out here.

It can be a little tricky getting used to a new routine as an adult, so it is important that you start proper brushing technique as young as possible. While it may be hard to get younger children excited about brushing, there are many ways you can do this. Many children aren’t very responsive to raw educational strategies, so try to find a fun and unique way to do this. One thing you can do is try to invent a fun game out of it. If you are not much of the creative tight (or have an extra demanding audience) you may want to even, try out educational technologies such as Brushies. While research consistently forces us to reevaluate what’s best for us, the importance of brushing remains consistent.

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