It’s been a part of the ‘proper’ dental care regime for decades now, and promoted as the one treatment that can get your teeth and breath truly clean. But the reputation of flossing has taken a battering of late with the introduction of interdental brushing – and according to recent studies, certain experts are predicting it may have reached the end of its tape.
A lot of floss about nothing?
Ever since America’s Associated Press conducted a secret survey amongst governmental health and dental experts – and came away with the conclusion that none of them would actually say that flossing had any real benefit – the US federal government quietly dropped its recommendations of the practice in its recent dietary guidelines, which has been there for 37 years.
Should you stop flossing?
Now that the NHS has announced that it may be reviewing its position on the matter, where does that leave us? It bears repeating that, like their modern counterparts, the incorrect and forced use of dental floss can do more harm than good. Poor technique can cause tooth and gum damage, but it can also dislodge bad bacteria, which can cause infection.
However, while interdental brushes have been proven to be more effective in removing food debris in hard-to-reach places, not everyone can use them: those of us with very little gap space between our teeth due to their natural growth (or impacted wisdom teeth) find that even the thinnest interdental brush is too large to fit snugly.
And there’s also the psychological benefit of flossing: not only does flossing shift mouth debris when it’s there, the user actually feels that they have a cleaner mouth after using it, which is important.
Our advice: if you haven’t tried interdental brushes yet, give them a try – they might work better for you. And if they’re not hitting the spot, review and improve upon your flossing technique.