As president of the Maine Dental Association’s executive board and being a local dentist, I wanted to respond to recent news reports that have questioned whether existing scientific research supports the benefits of flossing.

The Maine Dental Association, which represents more than 700 dentists in the state, says Mainers who floss are practicing an essential part of taking care of their teeth and gums.

According to the American Dental Association, cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease in the areas where a toothbrush cannot reach, and flossing is proven to help remove debris between teeth that can contribute to plaque buildup.

The American Dental Association says more than 500 bacterial species can be found in plaque, with some being good and some being bad for a person’s mouth. Together with food debris, water and other components, plaque buildup around teeth and on the gum line will contribute to disease in teeth and gums, according to the ADA.

The Maine Dental Association urges Mainers to practice good oral hygiene and floss regularly. Our organization takes our responsibility to our patients and to health of those in our state very seriously. And, as always, if you have any questions about oral health, talk to your dentist.

Dr. Peter Drews, Lewiston

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