Don't Floss

by Alison

Everyone in the dental world is in a dither over the latest light news story claiming that floss has not been proven effective.  In case you missed it, here is a link to one of the thousands of stories about this that came out last week.

However, none of my three readers (Aunt Carol, Uncle John, and the double top secret discount winning patient V.G.) are surprised, as I have been touting the wonders of toothpicks and proxabrushes over floss for years.

Floss has become the shorthand term for interproximal (in between) teeth cleaning. Floss is both a noun and a verb. Most people don’t mind the noun, but no one likes the verb. I’d like to see the dental world stop using that verb as shorthand. Floss is an imperfect solution for the real issue which is removing bacteria from between teeth. I think part of the confusion with verbiage is because it’s such a clumsy term – removing between teeth plaque. It is so much easier to just say floss.

While no smart person will ever dispute that bacterial plaque needs to be removed daily from teeth in order for them to stay free from cavities and gum disease - flossing isn’t a great way to remove that bacteria. Therefore smart people can indeed argue that flossing doesn’t work because it doesn’t work for so many people.

I love this Youtube video. It so elegantly shows why floss is inferior to an interproximal brush. Notice this company calls them, “interdental brushes”. This image is showing how pulling floss straight down the side of a tooth misses a good bit of bacteria. The video then goes on to show how easily an interproximal brush can remove those bacteria.

So you can pay a dental hygienist to floss for you every day. Or you could just use toothpicks or an interdental brush yourself. Or you could ignore my advice and pay us to treat your cavities and gum disease after the fact. Whichever you prefer is fine with us.

The double top secret discount for today is 10% off the next dental procedure for the first patient to post a comment here. Any comment will do, but it must be posted here– no calls or emails for this one. 703-532-1712