The anti-floss movement has spread like wildfire, thanks to an AP article claiming the evidence for flossing is “weak and unreliable.” Though few, there are studies that cite the benefits of floss. More importantly, there are no studies that say it’s bad.
Do It Right or Don’t Do It At All
Many dental professionals think flossing is a waste only if you’re not doing it right. And the research backs this theory: A 2006 study recruited nearly 1,000 kids to test at-home flossing vs. professional flossing. Over the course of 18 months, kids who were flossed professionally had a 40% decrease in cavity risk. Those who flossed at-home experienced no change. The moral of the story: When flossing is done correctly, oral health excels.
Americans would rather listen to a toddler’s temper tantrum than floss (seriously!). Regardless, you still need to clean between your teeth. Brushing only cleans 60% of teeth surfaces. Imagine leaving 40% of your beard sans shave. Besides funny stares, you’d also receive the last place this No-Shave November.
You have 2 choices: Use traditional floss the right way or use a stream to clean between:
1. Water Flosser
This fountain-style flosser spouts streams of water to remove plaque between teeth. Using a water flosser once a day can be just as effective as manual flossing. Bonus for braces and bridges: it can get rid of food particles that string can’t reach. Water flossing can remove around 10% more plaque than traditional flossing, according to the American Journal of Orthodontics.
2. Air Flosser
An air flosser shoots rapid bursts of air and water to remove bacteria biofilm between your teeth. It’s clinically proven to be just as effective as string floss for gum health. Using only a teaspoon of liquid, an air flosser gets its plaque-fighting power from microdroplets. The liquid you put in it doesn’t have to be water! You can fill the flosser with your favorite mouthwash.
Now you can see how it’s possible to skip string but favor floss. Choose an alternative and forge full stream ahead!