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Why You Should Floss…. Even If You Don’t Want to

Aug 29, 2016


Recently, the Associated Press wrote an article that questioned the medical benefits of floss.  The article stated that studies don’t really support the use, so why even bother with flossing? This article created a lot of buzz and consequently had many parents asking me “Do we really need to floss our kids’ teeth?”


I frequently see kids with cavities that are located in between the teeth – the exact spot that only floss can get (and not your toothbrush alone). There have been many great studies that show time and time again that plaque on teeth in combination with cavity causing bacteria is what leads to breakdown of enamel and therefore decay.  So, intuitively, if we know that plaque + bacteria leads to cavities, shouldn’t we want to remove as much plaque + bacteria as possible from our teeth as frequently as possible?

The NYTimes, in covering this flossing news as well, did acknowledge studies that showed that when kids have their teeth flossed by dental professionals regularly, those kids had a 40% decrease in cavities. This leads me to think… TECHNIQUE! You have to use the floss correctly in order for it to work. Sometimes, just going straight up and down with the floss is not enough to actually remove that sticky plaque from the sides of your teeth.  You need to make an effort to really hug the sides.

Watch this video below done by CocoFloss. Using a disclosing tablet, they turn plaque on the teeth a bright purple and show you not only how to floss (by griping the sides of the teeth), but also just how effective floss can be at removing plaque.

© 2014 Dr. Jennifer Fountain, DDS.
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