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Should We Throw Away Our Dental Floss?

There has been a ton of talk in the media lately about dental floss.

There is a report by the Associated Press saying dental floss has no proof that it really works. This story has been run by all the major news networks CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, etc.  This is the biggest story in dentistry this year. Most people find it hard to believe that flossing does no good.  When Dr. McOmie was on the radio this past week, he had two calls asking for his comments on this subject.
The report did NOT say to quit flossing. The report, in fact, ended with a quote saying to floss that goes as follows:

National Institutes of Health dentist Tim Iafolla acknowledged that if the highest standards of science were applied in keeping with the flossing reviews of the past decade, “then it would be appropriate to drop the dental floss guidelines.”Regardless, he added, Americans should still floss.”It’s low risk, low cost,” he said. “We know there’s a possibility that it works, so we feel comfortable telling people to go ahead and do it.”

What the report did say is there has never been a study that has shown that flossing has indisputable evidence it works. The report says all the studies done show a little gain, but the report also says the studies cited are not done well they last only a couple of weeks and have very few participants. In scientific studies, the longer the study goes and the more subjects being studied are generally better. Instead of studying for a couple of weeks with 30 people, it would be better if the study went for a few decades and had thousands of people. The problem is the revenue from dental floss is not going to pay for such an expensive study. Let’s face it, dental floss is inexpensive.

What the report is really saying is; there is no long-term reliable study it works only anecdotal evidence, and expert opinions say it does work.

Dr. Mark McOmie says flossing helps.

They see the evidence every day. People that floss has healthier mouths, it is just that simple. It is common sense to understand that you can’t leave food between your teeth and expect a healthy mouth. Food between your teeth provides fuel for bad bacteria that eat it and excrete acid. The acid creates a hole in the tooth, a cavity. Most people that floss thinks it feels great!

What if you hate using the string or don’t have the dexterity to floss? You have options

  • Air floss by Oral B. This blasts inbetween teeth with air and water to get that food out.
  • Floss picks, these look like little swords and have the floss strung for you.
  • Floss Finger, this hold the floss for you. The good thing is you can take the old floss off this and put new on using it over and over.
  • Inter Dental picks
  • Sonic tooth brushes. A electric toothbrush does make a difference. The sonic pulses can vibrate the food out from in between the teeth.

It is the position of McOmie Family Dentistry that flossing does work. We see the results everyday. We know food lodged between the teeth is not a good thing, it does lead to cavities and gum disease. This is common sense.  Keep flossing and brushing we see healthy mouths everyday from this practice, we see unhealthy mouths from lack of brushing and flossing. 

We love our patients. If you have any questions or concerns about this subject or any other, give us a call. Call us and make an appointment for a good tooth cleaning.  (423) 899-1112. 

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