What Happens If I Stop Flossing Today?

So you're telling me I don't have to floss anymore? That's the best news I could have ever gotten. Finally the Dentist can lay off me. Next time I go to the dentist I'm giving him/her a piece of my mind.

These are things that have most likely crossed your mind while reading the most recent reports from CBS and every other news outlet in the past 48 hours.

The Truth: If you stop brushing and flossing your teeth, you will get cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis. There have been numerous studies that you can search online that prove this. Flossing is not the only modality in cleaning your teeth. Brushing cleans 65% of the surfaces of your teeth. Cleaning between the teeth can be achieved several ways. Floss, tooth picks, water picks, swishing actions, and proxy brushes are a good place to start when trying to find a method of cleaning between teeth.

Removing plaque and bacteria from the oral cavity leaves the gums healthy and free from bacterial invasion. Bacteria produce all kinds of toxins and byproducts that break down the teeth. Some bacteria produce acid. Acid weakens the enamel and softens the tooth which leads to tooth aches and abscesses. Other bacteria go between the tooth and gums

and produce toxins and endo-toxins that break

down the gums and bone that support the teeth. This breakdown of gums and teeth will eventually lead to teeth becoming loose and falling out. It is so simple to prevent these horrible diseases by taking control of ones oral health. Brushing and cleaning between the teeth must be accomplished in order to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis.

The Facts:

Cavities are more prevalent now than ever before.

Cavities in children are the biggest epidemic facing their age group in the United States

Dental related tooth emergencies are one of the number one leaded causes to missed work.

Removal of plaque (brushing, flossing, etc) reduces the number of bacteria in the mouth.

Bacteria produce by products that break down the tooth, gums, and surrounding bone.

I would consider this recent CBS News article regarding flossing being a waste of time to be one of the most harmful articles to our general health and well being since the "scientific article" urging parents to not vaccinate their children. If you recall, many parents believed that vaccinating their children would cause more harm than good. What did we see? A rise in easily preventable diseases such a measles, mumps, chicken pox, and whooping cough. The same will happen when not cleaning between the teeth: a rise in interproximal cavities and gum disease.

The following is quote from a dental colleague of mine regarding this recent article.

We love it when we hear an article that appeals to our personal beliefs. If we like what we hear we will cling to it. Even if our beliefs are not scientifically based. Like Alex has said, Dentist will be here to clean up the mess once this misinformation has been brought into light. As health professions we are hopeful to see a decrease in cavities and gum disease. There are not enough dentists to take care of all the tooth problems as it is. To watch an article like this explode is a huge blow to our overall effort to prevent these harmful diseases. It also has a negative impact on the overall health and well being of our nation.

I will leave you with the following TRUE information. We as dentist do not receive free kick backs from tooth brush, tooth paste, and floss companies. We purchase these materials to give to our patients free of charge at each appointment because we believe these actions will help prevent cavities and gum diseases. When these valuable oral health habits are ceased, there is a much greater chance of developing cavities and periodontal disease. Are you ready to hear that you now have a cavity or gum disease because you decided to stop brushing or cleaning in-between your teeth?




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