Although most dentists would strongly advocate regular flossing to prevent dental problems, a provocative new book by Dr Ellie Phillips claims that this habit is a waste of time and makes no difference to tooth health.
Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye states that any type of gadget or dental product used to floss teeth is not going to prevent tooth decay. Using science to back her theories, Dr Phillips says that there was no difference between the number of cavities suffered by adults who flossed regularly and those that didn’t – as part of a 2006 study by the British Dental Journal. While this might be accurate, other industry professionals were quick to point out that flossing is aimed at preventing gum disease rather than decay.
Dr Graham Barnby, a Buckinghamshire dentist, said ‘in all fairness, there is no evidence that flossing is preventing tooth decay in the long run, so in a sense she does have a point. Yet although the benefits of flossing may be limited with tooth decay, flossing does have a role in the prevention of gum disease.’
Gum disease develops when plaque builds up on the teeth, irritating the gums and causing them to recede and become swollen, which can be prevented using dental floss. Studies have also shown that bacteria in the mouth have been linked to heart disease – something which can be fought with a simple flossing procedure.