There is a lot of distraction and mis-direction in the news these days, especially when it comes to social media like Facebook. Often we see memes or click-bait being shared and replicated online, doling out medical advice or new found “proof” on a variety of medical subjects.  In Orthodontics, we see it all the time.  There was the DIY braces craze a few months ago, where a college student devised a way to 3D print his own braces, for example.  This received a great deal of attention online, but no one thought to question the wisdom of cutting out the Orthodontist, who is, after all, the medical specialist trained to advise and formulate an appropriate treatment plan!

Recently we saw some buzz on social media on the subject of flossing.  There was an article making it’s rounds and cluttering several news feeds which suggested that flossing is a waste of time and goes further to suggest there is no evidence to prove that it contributes to preventing cavities.  I had to do a double take… Say what? .

The article was sourced from an earlier report which had been released by the Associated Press.  It went on to investigate previous reviews on this topic and compared using a toothbrush alone VS using a toothbrush with dental flossing. That was the first bit of context that went missing when people started re-posting and sharing.  The article then claimed that flossing was not really that efficient or useful and that’s when Facebook took off! People just started sharing the news left and right, without for a moment of really thinking it through.

The CDA (The Canadian Dental Association) then stepped in. They decided enough was enough and it was time to get some good information out there to let people know that in fact there is plenty of proof that shows flossing is important and should remain a vital part of one’s daily oral hygiene routine – especially during orthodontic treatment!  The CDA pointed out that the article was not revealing all the facts and that in the opinion of medical professionals flossing is still very important.

Patients have asked me, “Hey Dr. Walt, I saw this article which proved flossing wasn’t important anymore!  So Should I floss?” The answer is yes.  Absolutely yes.

Here’s are some things to keep in mind about flossing:

• Flossing’s function is to remove food material and plaque from your teeth and to reduce the chance for bacteria build up in your mouth.
• You know that filmy white stuff that comes off your teeth when you do floss?  That’s  plaque and it’s a big culprit when it comes to tooth decay. If plaque is not removed then you are at increased risk of tooth decay.  It’s that simple.
• You should be seeing a dental hygienist for regular cleanings, especially when you are getting braces.  If you are already a patient here at our Vaughan office , ask us about our #WOHEALTHYGRINS program. We work closely with your family dentist to promote regular cleanings and optimal oral health.  Plaque doesn’t just go away on it’s own.  There needs to be some intervention, where your teeth are professionally cleaned, and of course flossing at home!
• Need help flossing with your braces?  Have a look here at our flossing with braces page or you can check out some general flossing instructions at the CDA’s page here.Preventing problems before they get out of hand is a good strategy, especially when it comes to caring for your teeth and braces.  If you have any questions about what you should be doing, you can use our website to consult with one of our orthodontic partners in real time chat.  Just visit and click on the Let’s talk button!

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