Keep calm and carry on flossing! New teeth cleaning report ‘totally misleading’, says cosmetic dentist


A cosmetic dentist, famous for his celebrity makeovers, has slammed a report that flossing teeth is a waste of time.

keep calm

Leading smile makeover dentist and expert Rahul Doshi says he will continue to recommend flossing in order to maintain good oral health, despite an investigation by the Associated Press that suggests there is no definitive evidence that it prevents dental caries or gum disease.

Dr Doshi explains: ‘This report is totally misleading. Plaque is the cause of gum disease and potential bone loss and tooth loss and a toothbrush alone cannot clean plaque between teeth, which means floss is the idea aid to achieve this. Interdental cleaning is important and, for those of us who find it just too awkward, there are alternatives such as flossettes, interdental brushes and the Philips Sonicare AirFloss Pro.

The issues is that more than 50% of patients in the UK have poor oral hygiene and the first step is to get them to brush their teeth. However, this does not mean that flossing is not important — interdental cleaning is still necessary for good dental health and overall wellbeing.

The UK dental experts at the British Society of Periodontology have also criticised the report.

The Society, whose members are experts in oral health care, suggests media coverage has been misleading and that scientific evidence supports the use of small interdental brushes for cleaning between the teeth, where there is space to do so, in preference to flossing.

They write: ‘The recommendation from the 11th European Workshop on the prevention of gum diseases (2015) to patients is: “Daily cleaning between your teeth using special interdental brushes is essential for treating and preventing gum disease. Floss is of little value unless the spaces between your teeth are too tight for the interdental brushes to fit without hurting or causing harm.

‘Therefore, floss is not a waste of time — it is a viable alternative to interdental brushing where appropriate.’

Public Health England makes a similar recommendation but this is now reportedly under review.

Earlier today, another expert — ‘singing dentist’ Dr Milad Shadrooh — made an appearance on Good Morning Britain (click to view) to discuss the controversy.

Earlier this summer, a report revealed that one third of American adults never floss, whilst here in the UK, shockingly less than a quarter of adults use dental floss regularly.

In fact, one in three people have NEVER flossed their teeth.

The Associated Press investigation looked at the most rigorous research of the past decade with 25 studies in leading journals finding evidence for flossing ‘weak, very unreliable’, of ‘very low quality’, and carries ‘a moderate to large potential for bias’.

One review conducted last year said: ‘The majority of available studies fail to demonstrate that flossing is generally effective in plaque removal.’

One study did credit floss with a slight reduction in gum inflammation. However, the reviewers ranked the evidence as ‘very unreliable’.

Bacterial plaque constantly forms between our teeth and is impossible to reach with a regular toothbrush.

That’s why your dentist recommends specific tools to do the job, such as TePe brushes (that come in colour-coded packets depending on the size of gaps between your teeth), floss and waxed tape.

And, if you love a gadget then the Philips Sonicare AirFloss Pro may be up your street! It’s the first flossing device that’s clinically proven to improve gum health.

Also, don’t be shy — you can always ask your dental team for some guidance and tips on how best to clean between those teeth.

Want to hear more from the Singing Dentist? You can watch him sing here — ask him a question here >

Ask Rahul Doshi a dental question here >

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