The Misinformation of Flossing - A Debate that Shouldn't Exist
Recently, many leading journals such as the NY Times, CNN, Daily Mail, and dozens of others jumped on an article about how flossing, serves no health benefits, without actually reading the article or assessing what flossing does for your teeth and gums. This is a modern example of viral misinformation. You have to ask yourself, if you find a headline too good to be true, it probably is. Click here to view the science atrocity.
The NY Times article written by Catherine Saint Louis lifts what it wants to hear from a science review paper, leaving out important information. The classic journalism taking a story and running with it. The original research review was of a dozen short term experiments (1-3 months) with over 500 participants. They did not detect noticeable differences with flossing and brushing with plaque reduction, however they did find that flossing plus tooth brushing showed a statistically significant benefit compared to tooth brushing in reducing gingivitis. Furthermore, this was only a short term review, and tooth decay is not a short term process!
So, the science behind what's happening between your teeth is really easy enough to explain. The food we eat contains sugars called Carbohydrates. These sugars are specifically targeted by bacteria in our mouths which convert the food into acid, which in tern decays our teeth by decalcifying our enamel. Basically, this is how cavities are formed. Most cavities are formed in the areas between your teeth, where brushing does not reach. The reason for flossing, is to break up the source of carbohydrates and reduce the acid between our teeth. The process of decay, takes years. You have your adult teeth for the majority of your life, and 1-3 months of not flossing, is not likely to make a big difference. This is why you have to floss and maintain your teeth, over years.
To further discredit herself, Catherine Saint Louis even published months earlier an article supporting the evidence as to why you should floss, without even considering this information in her recent article. Articles like this exist only to serve the publisher, not inform the public. This article went viral on social media and became clickbait. Clickbait means, it was created to generate revenue for their advertisements through your clicking and sharing of the article. There's a modern fight raging between greed vs. factual information, make sure you question everything you read.
1. Always question articles that are too good to be true, and shared on social media. It doesn't matter who the source is.
2. Bacteria generate acid from the food between your teeth, acid rots your teeth. Flossing physically removes said food.
3. There is no debate, floss!