Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Happy teeth

If I could leap into the air and click my heels (I can't manage it actually), I'd do it in response to this news.

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”.

The Guardian, August 2, 2016

Decades of dentist-induced guilt dissolved! I've never been able or willing to sustain a flossing habit, having the sort of crowded teeth that cut the nylon strands into a useless frizzle.

Apparently there is no rigorous scientific evidence to support flossing -- it's just a practice dentists endorse (and toiletry companies profit from) because of long customary usage. It probably does no harm, but it also does no proven good for our teeth.

For those of us who grew up before dental care was made somewhat less painful, and who may have had irregular dental care since somehow our mouths aren't deemed worthy of insurance in our "health system," everything about "going to the dentist" evokes anxiety shading into horror. Not having to feel guilty about flunking flossing might help just a little.

I bet they'll keep saying I should do it though. For dental workers, that's just a habit.

The article doesn't say whether there is any scientific basis for using brush picks to clean between teeth. Probably not. But at least I can made them work without trapping a mouthful of shredded thread.


Brandon said...

Toothpicks, brush picks, or floss: whatever helps one get spinach bits out from among one's teeth.

Terry Moon said...

My interpretation of the New York Times article was that the science on this was so bad that the effectiveness of flossing was neither proven or disproven. On the face of it, it seems to make sense to me that basically trying to brush between ones teeth with floss is a good idea, not only for teeth, but also for gums. But you have my sympathy with shredding floss, etc.

Classof65 said...

It seems that there is a whole new generation of dental appliances of which my dentist never made me aware. I didn't even know there were such things as "brush picks." No wonder I'm out-living my teeth! You'd think my dentist or hygienist would want me to recognize and purchase all the new stuff, but nary a word from either of them. Perhaps they think that I'm too old to be able to adapt to the new technology. Or perhaps they want my teeth to all rot so that I'd have to resort to bridges or dentures... I had braces in my teen years and they were so uncommon back then that kids made fun of me, called me the "happy motorcycle rider" with bug-guards on my teeth. I was so embarrassed that I rarely smiled -- and still don't. Nowadays kids are ostracized for not having braces according to my grandsons. Anyway the braces pulled my teeth so close together that I have the same problem you do -- it's nearly impossible to get floss between most of my teeth. So your parents saved a lot of money by skipping the braces and you and I still have the same dilemma... Ain't life funny!?

Hattie said...

Do you have a water pic? I have a very good portable water pic with the unfortunate brand name of Toilet Tree.You can order it online. I highly recommend it.

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