Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Flossing is still effective and very important to do....

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 8-9-2016

You may have seen the headlines that “officially” flossing is no longer approved or required by the federal government.

Someone noticed that such approval had to be based on studies that showed it to be effective.

So far so good.

Then they assigned the job to incompetents who just did a list of studies and found some that didn’t show flossing to be effective.

Then they took that as flossing is not proven effective.

Did they assign this to people competent to find out why flossing tested as effective in some studies and why? 

No, they just read that as flossing isn’t proven to work.

They said since some studies showing flossing to be ineffective, they withdrew all endorsement of flossing.

Since flossing IS time consuming and even a bit messy at times and many people do it when they are trying to get ready to leave for work in a hurry, many people have already believed the bad advice and stopped flossing.

This has truly horrible consequences

The gum disease, gingivitis, which proper flossing DOES help prevent or simply prevents, causes bad breath and HUGE dental and specialist bills to fix. 

Worse, the bacteria it allows to get LOTS of extra growth cause heart disease. 

AND, if it goes on too long, your teeth fall out and make you look much older and like a homeless street person.

False teeth are a horrible inconvenience that make flossing seem mild by comparison.  They are extremely challenging to wear without having horrid bad breath too.

And, though implants do work, gingivitis can remove enough bone to make them not doable even if you can afford the thousands of dollars to get them.

Why do I say flossing is effective?

Because if I even miss a couple of days in a row, when I floss next I can taste the bad taste of the bacteria that grew from not flossing!  I can even see bleeding from my gums that are less healthy.

And, if I miss too often the measures of my gum health at the dentist when I go for my every 6 month check, get worse.

Meanwhile my wife who flosses well twice a day to my once always has a good check up!

So yes flossing works; and because the consequences of not doing it are so dire, I hope you continue to do it. 

The whole reason I write this blog is to help ensure you stay healthy!

But what about the studies showing flossing didn’t help?

Turns out that is a simple answer.  Poor quality flossing doesn’t help much.  But good quality flossing helps a lot.

The Huffington Post last Friday, 8-5-2016 had a story with the title: 

“I’m A Dentist. We Have To Talk About Flossing.”


He said this:

"….we know proper flossing can help remove plaque, which can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal disease.

I say “proper flossing” because that’s an important term that might be being overlooked by some in their furor to invalidate flossing. For a 2006 study titled “Dental Flossing and Interproximal Caries: a System Review,” researchers wanted to see whether flossing at home had the same health benefits as being flossed by professionals. They recruited 808 children aged four to 13 and split them into three groups: kids professionally flossed five days a week; kids professionally flossed once every three months; and kids who self-reported flossing at home.

The study lasted 18 months, and the findings were hardly surprising. Participants who were flossed professionally five days a week had a 40 percent decrease in their risk for cavities. The other two groups, those flossed professionally once every three months and self-reported home flossers, didn’t show any decrease of cavity risk. While this might at first seem to give some fodder to the “Stop flossing!” crowd, it’s important to clarify what exactly the study is showing. The researchers don’t conclude that flossing doesn’t help prevent cavities; they conclude that the key is flossing properly.

The conclusion of the study, then, is that when flossing is done correctly, it strengthens patients’ oral health."

So research done on people who floss badly does show little protective effect.

While people who “floss properly” get a dramatically positive and valuable effect.

So, if you do floss and want the good effects and protection, it’s crucial that you know what makes the difference.

The simplest way to describe it is to tell how I learned it myself.

Before I went to the dentist for teeth cleaning and saw a series of dental hygienists I thought of brushing my teeth and flossing as a way to clean food particle from on and in between my teeth.

So that’s what I did.  The food particles – including any stuck between my teeth were gone.

Between that and the taste of the toothpaste my mouth felt cleaner.

Then I found out that to keep my teeth I had to add a second goal --  to brush and floss in such a way to vigorously and thoroughly clean the border between my teeth and gums to massage my gums to increase their circulation and to remove as much of the gunk just under that border as possible. Brush the gumline as the priority in other words, not just the teeth

So once I brushed the topical fluoride onto the crushing surface of the teeth, the majority of the brushing was at that border, the gumline, and was more to brush that and my gums than my teeth.

Similarly, instead of just popping the floss in and out between the teeth to remove food particles, once the floss went in, I needed to place it against the tooth and rub it down into the gumline getting it as close as possible without hurting the gum and do it first on one side and then the other before going to the next tooth.

This does take longer than what I was doing before.  But my checkups at the dentist began going much better.

And, one place where I used to get a smell when I flossed the old way never, ever has done that since.

Then I got the SonicCare toothbrush that does with ultrasound what the flossing does.

So now I do it two ways, on days where I’m not behind schedule leaving for work and weekends, I brush with the SonicCare, floss properly, and then do the regular brushing

But on weekdays when I’m pressed for time, I brush the gumline with the SonicCare and then do the regular brushing.

That’s working for me. 

It does take extra effort; and learning from the dental hygienists really helped me learn it. 

But given the bad breath and the heart disease risk and the huge dental bills I do NOT get when the people my age who don’t do it DO get, I plan to keep it up!  

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