View Full Version : flossing, I knew it!

Chef Bruz
3rd Aug 2016, 11:51
according to the New York Post:

Flossing is a complete waste of time

It’s one of the most universal recommendations in all of public health: Floss daily to prevent gum disease and cavities.

Except there’s little proof that flossing works.

Still, the federal government, dental organizations and manufacturers of floss have pushed the practice for decades. Dentists provide samples to their patients; the American Dental Association insists on its website that “Flossing is an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums.”

The federal government has recommended flossing since 1979, first in a surgeon general’s report and later in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans issued every five years. The guidelines must be based on scientific evidence, under the law.

Last year, the Associated Press asked the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture for their evidence, and followed up with written requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

When the federal government issued its latest dietary guidelines this year, the flossing recommendation had been removed, without notice. In a letter to the AP, the government acknowledged the effectiveness of flossing had never been researched, as required.

The AP looked at the most rigorous research conducted over the past decade, focusing on 25 studies that generally compared the use of a toothbrush with the combination of toothbrushes and floss. The findings? The evidence for flossing is “weak, very unreliable,” of “very low” quality, and carries “a moderate to large potential for bias.”

“The majority of available studies fail to demonstrate that flossing is generally effective in plaque removal,” said one review conducted last year. Another 2015 review cites “inconsistent/weak evidence” for flossing and a “lack of efficacy.”

One study review in 2011 did credit floss with a slight reduction in gum inflammation — which can sometimes develop over time into full-fledged gum disease. However, the reviewers ranked the evidence as “very unreliable.” A commentary in a dental magazine stated that any benefit would be so minute, it might not be noticed by users.

3rd Aug 2016, 12:17
This is a big problem in all advice given in medicine and especially when anything involves the drug companies.

That advice changes or is proved to be incorrect

One minute don't touch alcohol next minute two glasses of red wine are good for you
Statins the wonder drug are now shown to have little good effect now peoples lives are crippled by these drugs

Cholesterol now under the spotlight as being vital to your well being while a medical obsession with measuring this or that and reducing by means of taking drugs

No wonder a suspicion is generated over medical advice especially when a lot of money is involved

No doubt the floss companies will be running around paying scientists to counter those claims with new manipulated evidence as do the drug companies when a question mark is thrown into the mix

3rd Aug 2016, 12:27
Years ago I developed quite severe gum disease (lost a tooth from it). I underwent a load of (painful) dental hospital treatment in Bristol, which included scraping all my remaining teeth below the gum line (not nice), having to take some pretty powerful antibiotics (made me pretty unwell) and being sent to see a dental hygienist for further treatment and advice.

The advice from the dental hygienist then (this was around 15 years ago now) was not to floss, but to use an electric toothbrush and interdental brushes to clean between my teeth. She was adamant that flossing was a waste of time, and that what did the job best were the thin interdental brushes.

I've followed that advice since, with no recurrence of the disease, but I do have to maintain a rigorous cleaning regime or else the early symptoms (gum soreness) start to return.

The good news is that the interdental brushes are far easier to use than dental floss. and quicker, too.

3rd Aug 2016, 14:04
You would think that some company had developed a modern way of cleaning teeth. Some solution that you can slosh around a while which cleans all nooks and crannies without touching any tissue.

When it comes to flossing I think people do it incorrectly, in a sawing motion instead of up and down along the walls of the tooth.

3rd Aug 2016, 14:17
The future?

Toothpaste startup Livionex gel could redefine dental care - CBS News (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/toothpaste-startup-livionex-gel-could-redefine-dental-care/)

3rd Aug 2016, 14:40
Agree 100% with VP959, I was amazed at how much food debris an interdental brush removes even after a good clean with an electric toothbrush, these are what they should be pushing not all the stupid various toothpastes.

Metro man
3rd Aug 2016, 15:04
It depends on how tightly packed your teeth are, if you've got Ryanair density than even the smallest interdentals won't fit. I find the advice strange as I used to get cavities on the edges of my teeth which stopped when I started using dental floss in my teens. I can't remember dental floss even being available in the UK in the early 1970s anyway, but in those days we didn't know that sugar rotted your teeth, smoking caused lung cancer, drink driving caused accidents and not wearing seat belts meant you went through the windscreen if you came to a sudden stop.

The smell of used dental floss would convince anyone that cleaning is needed in that area.

I tried the Phillips Air-floss which basically squirts water between your teeth, first one broke and was replaced under warranty, the replacement got through to the end of the original warranty period before dying and therefore Phillips wouldn't replace it. I now used a water jet which simply connects to a tap and delivers a tiny stream of high pressure water to clean in the gaps. 1/10 the price of the Air-floss but 100% reliable.

4th Aug 2016, 03:23
Gave up on the floss because it used to get snagged & tangled in some of the closer-packed teeth, and went for the interdental brushes 2 years ago. Much better.

4th Aug 2016, 09:00
On the topic of inter dental brushes, one problem I found was that their availability was variable on the High Street. I started off with the standard TePe ones, supplied (expensively!) by my dental hygienist. These are OK, but awkward to use, as you have to bend the brush to get at your back teeth, and those seem to be the ones that need the most work.

OralB then brought out a handle, like a tooth brush, into which thin brushes in a range of sizes could be fitted. This was great, as with the brush at 90 deg to the handle it made it a lot easier to use. Sadly, OralB seem to have stopped making these, or at least they aren't available anywhere locally now.

Boots came out with a similar design of own-brand inter dental brush, with plug-in inserts, and whilst not as good as the OralB system (IMHO) they were OK. Sadly these two seem to have disappeared from the shelves.

I was mentioning this to my hygienist a year or so ago, and she said she was sure that TePe made right angled brushes. After much digging around I found that I could buy them relatively cheaply in bulk bags from ebay!

For those with tightly packed teeth, I can say that the thinnest brush will go through a gap that floss will only normally go through. For the TePe ones, the colour denotes the size, with the red ones being really thin (far too thin for most of my teeth), the blue ones being the medium size and yellow being the thick ones.

If anyone wants to search for bulk suppliers of the right angled TePe brushes, then searching for "TePe angled interdental brushes" should find them. Bulk packs are usually around £12.50 for twenty five off.

Loose rivets
4th Aug 2016, 16:48
Something I've always felt strongly about.

I had white almost perfectly straight teeth when I was a kid. So did my mother, but before I was born. By the time I'd become aware of such things, hers were 'gone'. Folk then just accepted such a tragedy. She just assumed I'd be the same and while she used to holler for me to clean my teeth before bedtime, most other times I'd not hear a word about it. Wednesdays and Saturdays were our pictures nights, and we'd pick up two bags of sweets on the way.

I imagine pressing on hard toffee puts about a million pounds per square inch into the fissures the bristles can't reach.

By the time I was about 15 the drilling started. I'm still booking appointments three or more times a year to save the bits of teeth still hanging on to the fillings. Oh, for time over again.

The Rivetess still has a wonderful smile. She flosses, and I can't see what else one can do when one's teeth are pressed tight together. Stuff WILL be pressed into those gaps, and if, unlike me, you can't get a toothpick in, then what else can you do? Brushing won't get at those contact surfaces.

We had a 'No Sweets' rule in our house, but one of the kids used to swap his lovely wholemeal sandwiches for [email protected]@dy great gob-stoppers while at school.

I guess, to sum up: if the teeth are pressed together, floss, BUT DON'T (and yes I'm shouting) cut into the gums or much under the gumline. DON'T cut the gum away from the tooth.

Yes, the dental scrape has to go under the gum, and I'm told, the inside surface of the gums has to be scraped as well so that two parts of 'Self' meet and can hopefully rejoin. i.e., not foreign material in the way. Over time that ingression can loosen even the finest looking teeth - the tartar build-up making an almost total layer of 'non-self' material. Left like this, the tooth is doomed.

4th Aug 2016, 17:47
This is a big problem in all advice given in medicine and especially when anything involves the drug companies.Unfortunately, we live in a culture that venerates doctors. Having known a few, I could never even conceive of doing that.

I generally find that doing the opposite of whatever doctors are saying is a good plan. Fortunately, they'll be obsolete soon, as they're replaced by AI systems with sophisticated sensor suites.

As for floss, don't know if it helps my teeth, but it certainly reduces pain when I get something stuck between them.

4th Aug 2016, 18:39
What a complete load of nonsense. Each has their uses. Floss for removing sirloin steak between tightly packed teeth. Interdental brushes are best used on implants, and electric toothbrushes are no better than a good brush. Horses for Courses.