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Controversial dental floss: should it be used or not?
It is undisputed that regular brushing is important to prevent tooth problems. However, experts do not agree on whether dental floss should also include proper dental care. An expert explains whether and how dental floss has a benefit for dental hygiene.
The use of dental floss has long been recommended
Brushing your teeth regularly is the best way to prevent tooth decay, gingivitis and toothache. However, effective oral hygiene means more than just cleaning. According to experts, you should also properly clean the interdental spaces once a day, for example with dental floss or interdental brushes.
Different theories about proper dental care
However, different theories circulate about proper tooth cleaning and dental care. The question of whether you really need dental floss is not clear. The US health agency recently withdrew its recommendation to use dental floss to prevent tooth decay. The benefit of dental floss has not been proven in several studies.
The best solution for narrow spaces between teeth
German experts do not have a uniform opinion on the subject. According to a current position by the Federal Chamber of Dentists: "Daily dental practice alone shows that dental floss is a useful tool for cleaning the interdental spaces." According to the experts, dental floss appears to be "the best solution" for narrow spaces, among other things to remove deposits.
Little effects under everyday conditions
Professor Dr. However, Nadine Schlüter, research professor for caries research at the Clinic for Tooth Conservation and Periodontology at the University Medical Center Freiburg, explains in a message from the university: “At first glance, it actually seems that the effects are rather small if you take your interdental spaces at home under everyday conditions Dental floss cleans. "
Helpful for gum infections
Brushing your teeth alone is not enough to effectively clean the interdental spaces, which is why dentists recommend additional professional aids so that interstices can be freed of food residues and deposits. But: "So far, studies have only shown a real effect that prevents caries if a professional specialist flosses the interstices," says Professor Schlüter.
According to the communication, however, studies have shown that dental floss in connection with toothbrush cleaning improves the prevention and healing of so-called gingivitis (gum inflammation). According to the information, study participants who only brushed did not achieve as good results as participants who also used a tool to clean the interdental spaces.
So far there are no observational studies
"However, the reduction in gum inflammation through the regular use of dental floss as a therapy has not yet been scientifically proven," the expert says. "But that's probably because there are no observational studies on the correct use of dental floss."
It is unclear whether the application itself has no effect or whether it is simply not being carried out correctly. "With the latter, we would have to rethink our instruction strategies," emphasizes the doctor.
Advice for individualized oral hygiene
What can an additional interdental cleaning look like? "Cleaning the interstices with dental floss or so-called interdental brushes is biologically self-explanatory." The small interdental brushes can be inserted into the interdental spaces and the food residues and deposits can be removed with the correct movement. "However, it is important that patients can best be shown individually by their dentist how cleaning with these aids works," says Professor Schlüter.
The expert sums up: “To no longer use dental floss and inter-space brushes is certainly the wrong way to go. It would be better to speak to the dentist about the correct care for oral and cavity hygiene. In this way, he can give advice on individualized oral hygiene that also has an effect. ”(Ad)