Is Teeth Flossing Overrated?

Is Teeth Flossing Overrated?

The long-term health and success of your teeth and gums depends on 3 factors, akin to a 3-legged stool: (1) Dietary and personal hygiene factors (2) bacterial and genetic factors and (3) success of and quality of professional interventions. Anything wrong with one of these three factors can lead to an increased risk of cavities, gum disease, etc.

Flossing falls into category #1. With few exceptions, there is no better cost-effective way to clean out lingering bacteria and food debris from the contact points between your teeth.

However, if your diet is bad, or you have defective fillings between your teeth that trap food all the time, or your bacterial levels are unfavorable, then the benefit from the flossing becomes eclipsed by the other negative factors.

I’ve seen lots of patients who pride themselves on having great teeth, only to discover years down the road that they’ve had cavities festering between their teeth, because they failed to floss throughout their lives.

I tell my patients that flossing 3x/week is a minimum level that you should strive for. More than that won’t hurt you, as long as you’re doing it properly.