The flurry of media reports recently, following the US health department’s decision to remove daily flossing from its list of dental recommendations, have called into question the benefits of what has long been held up as integral part of oral hygiene.
Concerned that some individuals will dispense with flossing altogether as a result of such negative publicity, the Australian Dental Association, the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Periodontists and the Australian Society of Periodontology issued a joint statement last week strongly arguing in favour of flossing’s essential role in maintaining good oral health.
“The Australian Dental Association, Australian and New Zealand Academy of Periodontists and the Australian Society of Periodontology strongly recommends interdental cleaning such as flossing as an essential part of good oral health. Flossing disrupts and removes plaque and food in between teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach. Tooth decay and gum disease can develop when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth and along the gum line.
“The limited amount of scientific evidence surrounding flossing is not a reflection of its clinical effectiveness. Patients should continue to include interdental cleaning as a part of their daily oral hygiene routine, along with brushing twice a day and regular dental visits. It is important to understand that the efficacy of oral hygiene practices is moderated by diet, use of fluoride and genetic factors.”