Recently you may have heard that flossing has acquired something of a bad press. A report released by Associated Press challenged the idea that flossing prevents tooth decay and gum disease on the basis of a lack of evidence. In the US, the FDA have ceased recommending flossing, and it seems that people in general have started to lose confidence in its ability to enhance their oral health. However, many experts believe that flossing should not go out of fashion, despite the trend for ditching it.
Observation Versus Evidence
Most FDA and NICE guidelines and recommendations arise from evidence drawn from randomized controlled trials. On this basis, there is indeed very little evidence for the benefits of flossing. However, experts say that this is because it is impossible to conduct such a study within the necessary ethical boundaries. Because it is so obvious to clinicians that flossing conveys powerful benefits, it would be unethical to ask half of a cohort to avoid flossing, as they would be at such an elevated risk of developing gum disease and other oral health problems.
In fact, it is flossing’s very effectiveness that means it is difficult to garner evidence to support its efficacy. Instead, the proof that flossing works is observational. Dentists can tell straight away whether a patient has been flossing or not, and there is a clear correlation between flossing and long-term oral health. Dr Tim Iafolla, of the National Institute of Health, has commented that effective flossing is vital for removing plaque, and because it is a low-risk and simple procedure, dentists should continue to recommend daily flossing to their patients. See http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2379.aspx?CategoryID=74 for further advice.
Style Your Smile
Experts in the field of oral health tend to agree that the benefits of flossing far outweigh any risks. Patients across the country are increasingly interested in cosmetic dentistry. But if you want to add real clout to your pout, you will need excellent dental health before you can consider aesthetic matters. For expert advice, see Cardiff teeth whitening experts at http://cathedraldentalclinic.com/cosmetic-dentistry-cardiff/teeth-whitening-cardiff/.
The American Dental Association still recommends flossing or using some other device to clean between your teeth on a daily basis to avoid plaque build-up and reduce the resulting inflammation that causes gum disease and acidic reaction that leads to decay.