Dentists pushing back on AP's flossing story

Published: Aug. 3, 2016 at 5:52 PM EDT
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For many, it's a chore ...

"I floss. I don't like it though," Damian Nunzio said.

But, it's a chore that's worth the time.

"It gets all the stuff out of your teeth," Susan Block said.

Tonia Denslow added, "I think it's helpful and I think my teeth feel better when I do it."

All sides of her teeth.

"Only two get cleaned with the brush and the other two sides literally get cleaned with the floss," explained Dentist, Dr. Susan Maples. "So, brushing and not flossing is akin to cleaning half the tooth."

That's why she couldn't believe the Associated Press's claim stating "there's little proof that flossing works."

"What a setback. That's what I thought. What a setback," she said.

Dr. Maples told News Ten the few minutes it takes to floss helps prevent gum inflammation, which could lead to more complicated health issues.

"It becomes irritated and red; and now, the gums become the biggest portal of bacteria to the blood stream that swim through the body and cause all kinds of other problems, like a risk of stroke and heart attack and erectile dysfunction," Dr. Maples explained.

So she said don't stop flossing and make sure you're doing it correctly.

Dr. Maples explained, "Curve it around the side of the teeth, like a 'c' shape and push down as far as you can 'til you meet resistance. And then again, curve it to the other tooth and make that 'c' shape, so it wraps around."

That's the proper technique that Dr. Maples said the people in the studies may not have been practicing.

"You take people and ask them to floss and you don't even know if they're flossing well," she said. "It could be just click click click between the teeth instead of rubbing the side of the tooth."

She's found the latter technique has been effective with her patients.

"When people take really good care of their teeth, their gum problems get better. That's just what we see every single day," Dr. Maples said.

Both the American Dental Association and Michigan Dental Association agree with Dr. Maples. And, the organizations are stressing the importance of using floss in your daily routine.