To Floss or not to Floss

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To Floss or not to Floss

by Dental Design, on 16th August 2016 | Comments Off on To Floss or not to Floss
Woman Flossing


I never thought I would see the day when dental flossing became headline news for all of our newspapers.  The headlines all ran along the lines of:

“Flossing teeth does little good, investigation finds as US removes recommendation from health advice”

All the fuss about stems from a US study that concluded “The majority of available studies fail to demonstrate that flossing is generally effective in plaque removal.”  Basically the evidence supporting flossing is weak, but this is also the case for sugar causing decay, a fact that no-one would dispute and yet the evidence is The Viepholm Study in 1953.  The Vipeholm experiments were a series of human experiments where patients of Vipeholm Mental Hospital in Lund, Sweden were fed large amounts of sweets to provoke dental decay.  Clearly, it would not be ethically acceptable to repeat such experiments, but is universally accepted that sugar will cause tooth decay.

Equally, whilst the media have latched onto “flossing is a waste of time”, whereas the study only concluded that there was little evidence to support the use of dental floss, there is plenty of evidence to support the requirement for interdental cleaning.  Last year’s European Workshop on the Prevention of Gum Disease recommended:

“Daily cleaning between your teeth using special interdental brushes is essential for treating and preventing gum disease.  Floss is of little value unless the spaces between your teeth are too tight for the interdental brushes to fit without hurting or causing harm.”

This makes perfect sense to me as I am not a fan of flossing in itself but I am an enthusiast for cleaning between the teeth with the interdental brushes.  The most compelling evidence for the need to clean between your teeth can be discovered by actually using floss – don’t clean between the teeth for a couple, run some floss through and then have a good sniff of the plaque you will inevitably pick – be warned it is not pleasant.


So the question isn’t whether to floss or not, but what is the best sized interdental brush for me?  If you need any help or advice on cleaning your teeth, come and see one of our dental hygienists; meanwhile keep brushing with your TePe’s.

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