Flossing: Microbiome Research Sheds Light

Flossing works. Patients and dentists both know this is true. However, recent research provides some insight into why it works.

Breakthrough Research through Crowd-sourcing

To understand the research, you need to know what a microbiome is. A microbiome is the sum total of all microorganisms living in the body or a body area. For example, your mouth has a microbiome containing bacteria and fungi. When microbes are in balance, your body can fight off disease.

Sciencedaily.com reported a microbiome study from a diverse group of people. By crowdsourcing and using community scientists, volunteer citizen scientists collected data. They took swabs of cheek cells from the mouths of museum visitors. There were a total of 366 individuals: 181 adults and 185 youth from ages 8 to 17.

visitThe original reason for the study was to determine whether the oral microbiome affected how people tasted sweet foods. However, the study also showed that certain harmful bacteria thrived when the individuals didn’t visit the dentist frequently.

Study Findings about Why Flossing Works

The study found out the following about people’s oral microbiomes:

  • Participants who flossed had less harmful bacteria than non-flossers. (Flossing removed harmful bacteria.)
  • Adults who had dental visits within the previous three months had less harmful bacteria than patients with no visits in 12 months or longer.
  • Patients with recent visits had less of a certain periodontal disease causing bacteria.
  • Youth had visited dentists more recently than adults.
  • Children considered obese due to body mass had different microbiomes than non-obese children.
  • Obese children had higher levels of a certain periodontal disease causing bacteria.
  • People in the same household shared similar oral microbiomes.

The study also concluded that there was a link between obesity and periodontal disease.

At Hutto Hippo Family Dental, our dentists are glad to address your dental concerns. If you have questions please give us a call at (512) 806-7740.



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