A dentist’s insights on the latest flossing debate:
The Associated Press, is correct when it published its recent article, “A big problem with flossing”.
But it should have read “A Big Problem with Flossing Research.” I have done a great deal of research on the topic (see reference below) and there is little doubt in my mind that the science regarding flossing is flawed, inaccurate, biased, and often paid for by the big dental companies who manufacture and distribute dental floss.
The direction and tone of this article seems to question whether it is important to floss or to clean between the teeth at all!
Every dentist or hygienist that I have spoken with in over 40 years of active dental practice and teaching dentistry, has concluded that flossing in fact does work. We see the results every day and that when used properly, flossing removes or disrupts the germs between teeth where your toothbrush and mouthwash cannot reach.
There is however good research and overwhelming evidence that these germs hiding between teeth contribute to cavities, gum disease, bad breath. They can even cause an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, even some cancers and other systemic diseases.
The real problem with flossing is non- compliance. Few people floss and those who do floss, do it incorrectly. Flossing is technique sensitive and is inconvenient and difficult to learn or do. Many patients actually lie to their dentist or hygienist rather than receive a scolding for not flossing.
There has to be a better way! That is why Nathalie Fiset RDH and I wrote an article in the July edition of the Journal of Oral Health “Gum Disease Starts Between the Teeth” and why we invented the PerioTwist which is “a one size fits all teeth” interdental cleaner. This device is so much easier to use than floss and will not only clean away the smelly germs between teeth, but can also medicate the area as well.
Dr. Allan Coopersmith BSc DDS FAGD FADI FICD FCARDP FACD FIADFE
Nathalie Fiset RDH