Dentists Explain: The Reasons Why Flossing Is Bad

Understanding why flossing is bad

Dentists explain why flossing is bad

MORE HARM THAN GOOD-THE REASONS WHY FLOSSING IS BADThis could come as a bit of a shock to most people. Every one including dentist have always promoted the benefits and values of flossing, and advised people to include the act in their oral hygiene regimen, so when you come across an article that tries to discredit that well known piece of information, explaining why flossing is bad, we expect that this would put your mind to work.

But fear not, because we are not talking about the act of flossing itself (meaning the act of cleaning between the teeth) but on the use of certain methods of flossing, particularly traditional string floss.

So in that context, it is not flossing that is bad, not the other way around. We all know that brushes could do nothing in terms of cleaning between the teeth, as they are only equipped to clean the visible surfaces, not the shielded areas under the contacts of teeth. Only flossing is capable of such cleaning, and is so important since most diseases of the mouth such as cavities, gum disease and pockets arise in those areas. So again we stress, Flossing is incredibly important.

Now getting to the main point:

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Why flossing is bad when you use string floss

We have all been accustomed to the presence of string floss.. The good ole piece of string that is forced between the teeth, and sweeps the remnants and debris away effectively .. or so we thought!!

There is a large variety when it comes to cleaning between the teeth, but only one could carry significant risk, high enough to say the opposite of what everyone thinks is true, and that is “Flossing could be bad for you”, and of course we are talking about the traditional string floss.

So why all the fuss? Is it really that bad to use string floss?

It is not a question of bad, but the real question is “is it truly effective, or am I just wasting my time?”. When we use a piece of string for flossing, we clean the surfaces of the teeth facing each other which cannot be reached otherwise, and in that aspect, string floss is quite effective; however, there is another aspect that most of us don’t consider, that is the area under the gums. Plaque and debris build-up everywhere, either on the teeth surface or between the teeth, and even continue to build in the invisible and unreachable area under the gums, and that is where the benefit of string floss comes to an end. There is no way that the string reaches these areas, and the bacteria there will grow and strive undisturbed, causing all sorts of trouble and diseases. In fact, when you use the string you are actively forcing the debris (together with the bacteria) into these deep areas, and these could not be cleaned except with the professional help of a dentist or hygienist.

Add to that the fact that because some people don’t floss regularly, their muscles lose the memory of the act, and therefore when they force the string between the teeth, they end up tearing and injuring the gums in the process, so you are not only not benefiting from flossing, you are being harmed as well.

Understanding all that, you may think that flossing is entirely harmful and would disregard the act altogether, but that is where you would be wrong. Here is a few problems that could arise if you don’t floss regularly:

  1. 1

    Gum disease: Gum disease almost always begins in the areas between the teeth. When the bacteria and plaque are not cleaned well enough, they start to release toxins that could initiate gum disease with all its consequences of bleeding, swelling, bone loss
    and ultimately the loss of teeth.

  2. 2

    Cavities: Because these areas are shielded, the bacteria could easily work without disturbance, producing acids that eat through the protective layers of teeth, resulting in decay and cavities.

  3. 3

    Gum recession: Gum recession happens when the gums start to pull away from the neck of the teeth, exposing the sensitive root underneath them. It has many causes, one of which of course is bone loss from improper oral care, which is mainly because of not taking proper care of your oral hygiene.

  4. 4

    General health problems: The link is well established between periodontal disease and a variety of general health problems, mainly joint problems as well as eye disorders, and recently it has even been linked to heart disease, so in other words, not flossing could damage your heart.

So we established that cleaning between the teeth is important, but only one could be the source of trouble, but don’t fret, there are plenty of fish in the sea.

Here is a list of other methods of flossing available on the market:

  • Floss threader: The same as string floss but with a hard tip that makes it easier to fit under braces or tight contacts and of course under bridges and heavy restorations.

  • Interdental brushes: A small compact brush shaped like a tooth pick, only its tip is covered with bristles like a tooth brush, which makes it much less harmful than the wood of tooth picks.

  • Air flossers: Devices that use a strong stream of air to blow away the remnants and debris from between the teeth. Highly effective but costly and could do serious harm if not used correctly.

  • Water flossers (AKA water piks): The epitome of modern oral care. These devices use a pulsating stream of water to wash away the plaque and debris from the contact areas between the teeth, and are incredibly effective in doing so, with virtually no harm, plus, the water stream reaches easily under the gums, and so it solves the main drawback of string floss. But unfortunately they are quite bulky and expensive so not for everyone.

So the choice is yours. You can select the method that appeals to you the most.

And so we leave you with enough information about the possibly strange topic of “why flossing is bad”, and by now you know we mean the method, not the act itself.

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