Flossing – what to tell your patients

Interdental cleaning – interdental brushes and dental floss Following the recent media debate, what should you tell patients about interdental cleaning, interdental brushes and flossing?

So… after that brief media storm recently, you may be getting patients who ask: is flossing a waste of time?

The European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) recently made a statement in response to this media coverage. The statement was based on the evidence from a meta-review and its discussion at a recent workshop with around 90 experts from across the world:

Although there were some gaps in the data, the evidence shows that interdental cleaning on a daily basis is essential to healthy gums. Many patients find flossing difficult, and it’s often done wrong. But that doesn’t mean that patients who floss correctly get no benefit. Patients still require instructions from your dental team in order to ensure that their interdental cleaning is effective and does not hurt their gums.

The EFP’s conclusions provide a useful guide on what to say to patients:

  • Cleaning between the teeth (interdental cleaning) on a daily basis is essential to maintain healthy gums
  • There is evidence that interdental brushes are effective in removing plaque from between the teeth. They are recommended as the most effective method for use where the spaces between the teeth are big enough for them to be inserted
  • The use of floss may have a role to play where the spaces between the teeth are too narrow for interdental brushes.

For the full statement see http://www.efp.org/publications/flossing.html

Closeup of young man flossing his teeth - flossing is often done wrong - but daily interdental cleaning is essential for healthy gums
What should you tell patients about interdental cleaning, interdental brushes and flossing?

Following the recent media debate, what should you tell your patients about interdental cleaning, flossing and interdental brushes? Patients need your guidance – evidence shows that interdental cleaning on a daily basis is essential to healthy gums. For removing plaque from between the teeth, there is evidence that interdental brushes are effective. Patients need your instruction to ensure that their interdental cleaning is effective and does not hurt their gums.



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Many thanks,
The #ColgateDialogue team