To floss or not to floss?

Flossing not beneficial? Balderdash!

It was hard not to miss this morning’s front page Mercury News treatment of the latest dental bombshell:

The federal government, after compiling studies on flossing, said there’s little or no evidence it benefits dental health and has stopped recommending its use.

The article goes on to say the Associated Press examined the research and failed to find convincing evidence that flossing is effective. The studies found were “weak, unreliable,” and of “very low” quality.

What do we, who spend our days in the dental trenches say in response?

First, after looking in mouths for 30+ years, we can unequivocally state that regular flossing greatly reduces plaque buildup, prevents cavities, and keeps gums healthier than they would ever be without said flossing.

Second, perhaps this Flossing Kerfuffle is a benefit in disguise since it will create new dialogue in what has been a tired old story since 1979 (the year the government began recommending that Americans floss every day). How many times a day do we hear, “I know I should floss, but I haven’t been doing it.” Now we can replace the guilt with an honest to goodness conversation about why we think floss is still one of the most important tools in the oral health toolbox. It will become not just a duty one has to endure, but a free will act of self- care that will help reduce bleeding, save jawbone and keep teeth comfortable and functional for life.

What’s not to like about that?

Thank you, U.S. government!