So Is Flossing a Total Waste of Time?

In this series, we take common beauty questions, of which we’ve heard about 23,464 conflicting answers to over the years, and myth-bust ‘em once and for all.

Flossing - Mouth - LEAD
Photo: Getty

A few months ago, our inboxes were inundated with information on flossing, which is odd considering you wouldn’t think of it as the “newest and hottest” beauty treatment in the game. Well, it’s not, because it’s been a thing long before you were born, but the efficacy of the waxy string, meant to dislodge your leftover meatloaf (kale chips, popcorn, etc) from between your teeth, was of majoring questioning this summer when an article from the AP hit the internet. Basically, it brought up that there’s little evidence that flossing is super important. But damnit, we want answers.

So Here's Our Burning Question...

Is flossing one big myth and is every floss publicist under the sun having a panic attack?

And the Answer Is...

Nah, it's worth it. The American Academy of Periodontology released a study this summer saying that while, yes, there is little evidence, they still recommend flossing every day. Likewise, NYC-based cosmetic dentist Dr. Marc Lowenberg says it’s a great habit to keep.

“Flossing daily is necessary for healthy gums because it dislodges food that is stuck between the teeth where a brush cannot reach,” says Dr. Lowenberg, who adds that debris that’s left unattended can cause bad breath, along with other probs. "Most of the bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease lives in ‘hard to get to’ areas between the teeth. A brush simply will not reach it and rinsing is not powerful enough to dislodge it. The only way of physically removing this plaque from between the teeth is to floss,” he adds.

It also removes plaque and tartar, which Dr. Lowenberg says helps reduce the chances of developing inflammation of the gum tissue or Periodontitis. FYI, if the latter is untreated, it can cause bone and tooth loss! AH!

If you want to be up on what’s considered an acceptable flossing practice (and who wouldn’t after that horror story?), Dr. Lowenberg says it’s ideal to floss once a day, though after every meal is better, and how you do it is equally as important. "Run the floss along the tooth structure in the shape of a C, rather than just snapping quickly between each tooth,” he adds.

Apparently your pearly whites will thank you.

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