Updated: Feb 26
In August 2016, the Associated Press published an article about the weak evidentiary basis for flossing as way to reduce plaque and tooth decay and to prevent gum disease. The Associated Press was correct in that flossing hasn’t been well studied or backed by evidence-based studies.
Also from August 2016, “Flossing has no proven benefits, so U.S. health department stops recommending the practice. Drop the floss. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has removed flossing as a recommended practice after questions arose about its helpfulness, the Associated Press reported Tuesday”. Aug 3, 2016
However, the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology acknowledged the lack of evidence at that time but they continue to strongly recommend flossing as an integral part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Nov 22, 2016
So, what’s the thought behind flossing? The purpose of flossing is to remove sticky plaque and food debris from places that are hard to reach with a toothbrush. When plaque and it’s food source are left on the teeth, it produces acid that dissolves the enamel and results in white spot lesions and decay. Let’s look at how to floss, then the types of available floss, the items that I prefer, and their internet links.
There are several types of floss, flossers, and water flossers on the market. The type of floss and flossing system is guided by patient preference, situation, and dexterity issues.
1. Cocofloss – General Use. This floss is infused with coconut oil that attracts plaque and leaves your mouth feeling extra clean. It's very popular.
2. Super Floss by Oral B – Braces and Dental Bridges. Super Floss is great for cleaning braces and under dental bridges. It has a stiff end to help guide the floss through orthodontic arch wires and under the bridge and a floss section that cleans the area.
3. Listerine Ultraclean Floss by J&J – General Use and Tight Contacts. This floss slides through contact points and has a ribbed surface allowing it to stretch, flex, and prevent the floss from shredding.
4. Oral B Glide Pro-Health Advanced – Tight Contacts. This floss is useful if your teeth have tight contacts and other situations with the teeth or dental work that make other flosses shred or difficult to use. It truly glides through the contact and cleans the surfaces of the teeth.
5. Boka Floss – General Use, Gluten-Free, Vegan. This floss is made as an option for patients who desire gluten-free and vegan products. It’s also Teflon-free and petroleum-free.
6. Floss Picks – Manual Dexterity Problems. Floss picks are a handy way to floss the teeth for people who have dexterity problems or for children. There are many varieties of floss picks with different features.
7. Proxabrushes – General Use, Periodontal Patients. Proxabrushes are small brushes with bendable tips and a handle that can get into hard to reach places especially the molar and premolar areas.
8. Water Flossers – General Use, Periodontal Patients. The only oral irrigators with the ADA Seal of Acceptance are: Waterpik Water Flossers, Philips Sonicare AirFloss, AirFloss Pro, and AirFloss Ultra. The idea with water flossers is that they shoot a high pressure, pulsating stream of water and air that removes debris. I’ll include the links to both companies and you can decide if this is right for you.
This concludes my blog on flossing. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful.
Some great cowboy advice and sayings that I found on the internet:
Don't squat with your spurs on.
Don't let your yearnings get ahead of your earnings.
Don't dig for water under the outhouse.
Don't go in if you don't know the way out.
Don't mess with something that ain't bothering you.
Never corner something meaner than you.