TO FLOSS OR NOT TO FLOSS? That is the question.

Author: Dentists On Bloor |

So in the summer of 2016 a study came out by a British dentist claiming that all the evidence to support flossing is weak and that we don’t need to force our patients to doing this dirty task any longer.
No sooner than the cat was out of the bag I was questioned by email, in person and by staff how do I feel about this claim. Well after 20 years in private practice I do see a benefit in flossing. WE see it daily with our patients who are regular flossers and those who floss the week before their visit or not at all. WE SEE RED which means inflammation.

Flossing removes the build up between the teeth that brushing alone cannot reach and by doing this we help prevent cavities and also gets rid of plaque in the pockets or spaces between gums and teeth. This ultimately helps prevent gingival inflammation, bone loss and cavities.

The British dentist claimed that the studies are all flawed because they lacked strong evidence to support flossing and studies were too short. The argument is that studying the effect of flossing alone in tooth decay and gum disease would be very difficult as there are so many factors that contribute to gum disease. It would make it nearly impossible to isolate flossing alone and test its effect. Gum disease and tooth decay have multiple risk factors and they can take a long time to develop.

So at the moment due to the nature of studies conducted there is not direct scientific evidence that flossing reduces risk of tooth decay and gum disease however, dentists ( my self included) have evidence in their practices that the mechanical removal of plaque between teeth , that hard to reach area, help prevent theses diseases. Not every outcome can be studied using a randomized clinical trial especially a chronic disease.

Think of how simple and cheap it is to floss and how much you can benefit from it.

So what are you waiting for? FLOSS!

Your feedback is welcome.

Dentist in Toronto, ON

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