Dental Research

The Great Flossing Debate of 2016: dentists respond.

August 18, 2016

Our first post last week on the Great Flossing Debate of 2016, examined the recent debate on the effectiveness of flossing—a debate sparked by the Associated Press when it published an investigative piece alleging that the oral health benefits of flossing are overblown.

Many dentists responded by explaining that the AP story misses the point entirely when it comes to flossing’s benefits. According to some of our Denticon dentists, the research unearthed for the AP piece shows that yes, when flossing is conducted improperly, there are no health benefits. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, they said. And those very same studies do show numerous benefits to flossing with proper technique.

As Dr. Bita Saleh explained, “Flossing has everything to do with being done correctly.”

The ADA weighed in on the debate as well, releasing a statement to explain its view: “The bottom line for dentists and patients is that a lack of strong evidence doesn’t equate to a lack of effectiveness.” And just because the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines didn’t include a reference to flossing doesn’t mean that government authorities have disavowed flossing: “The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) made a deliberate decision to focus on food and nutrient intake” for the 2015 guidelines.

According to the ADA and the many dental professionals who reached out in response to our post last week, flossing once a day should be part of everyone’s dental care routine, along with brushing twice a day. To read the full ADA statement, click HERE.