To Floss or Not to Floss?

Posted on August 4, 2016

FT COLLINS, CO-- Waterpik®, a leader in innovative personal oral health care products for over 50 years, wants Americans to understand that the AP's announcement this week that there is very little scientific evidence that flossing daily prevents periodontal disease and interproximal caries, only applies to string flossing, not water flossing.

Deborah M. Lyle, RDH, BS, MS,  Director of Professional & Clinical Affairs Waterpik®, said, "The Associated Press report that flossing is not scientifically proven to be effective has created discomfort and distress in the dental community.  As a dental hygienist, I understand this sentiment.  Flossing is important.  What has to be considered is whether string floss is the best way to clean interdentally and subgingivally.”

If your patient is using string floss effectively and there is no bleeding then nothing needs to change.  They have mastered the technique and it is working for them.  However, for many this is not the case.  It seems the majority of people do not like to floss as is evident in surveys conducted for the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Academy of Periodontology (AAP).  The ADA survey reported that only 32.9% said they used some kind of interdental device and the AAP survey found that many people lie about flossing. 

Approximately half of the US adult population suffers from some form of periodontal disease. This is a preventable disease but requires individuals to adhere to a daily oral hygiene regimen.  One way to effectively clean interdentally is with a Water Flosser.  In published clinical trials, the Waterpik® Water Flosser was up to 50% more effective for reducing gingival inflammation, up to 2x as effective for reducing bleeding around implants, and up to 3x as effective for reducing plaque around fixed orthodontics appliances vs string floss

Carol A Jahn, RDH, MS, Director of Professional Relations & Education, Waterpik®, added, "What's really important is that we, as dental professionals no longer need to feel guilty when we don’t recommend string floss.  As a dental hygienist, I have seen that string floss works; but not as often as I would like.  More often, people struggle to use string floss correctly, and their oral health doesn’t improve leaving everyone frustrated.  The message that we want to make sure gets delivered is not that you don’t have to floss but that everyone needs to clean between their teeth and below the gumline, and there is better way.  Water flossing is easy to do, only takes a minute a day, and in clinical studies has consistently been shown to provide significantly better improvements in gum health over string floss."

"I'm a hygienist and water flossing is the way I choose to clean between my teeth."

 

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