As a journalist, I get lots of press releases that pop into my inbox. This week I was inundated with folks reacting to and pitching stories about an Associated Press investigation about flossing. Seems the AP story says there is “little proof” that flossing is beneficial. This blows my mind!
One of the reasons I went ahead and got Invisalign braces is the fact that I would get huge chunks of food caught in between my back teeth. It was so annoying. It was also affecting the health of my gums. I flossed all the time, but my gums would still occasionally get irritated. Now that I have the aligners I floss even more frequently since food stuck between teeth plus aligners equals pain. So do I agree with the new no-floss recommendations? Heck no!
I read an excellent story on Slate about the flossing debacle. I highly recommend it because it looks at the whole idea of medical studies and how most are sponsored by the product or company that is being investigated. Even that author, who decided that maybe she would ditch flossing, ended her story with a question from her husband: “What about the food between your teeth?”
And that’s the rub. If you stop flossing you stop removing the little pieces of vegetables, meat and fruit that get caught in your teeth. Not to mention seeds, popcorn kernels and ground up carbs. Forget the health of your gums for a moment. When you leave that stuff alone it ferments and rots, making your breath smell awful. That said, I intend to keep flossing. How about you?