CDA Essentials 2016 • Volume 3 • Issue 7 - page 9

9
Volume3 Issue7
|
CDA
at
W
ork
InAugust2016,
therewasafloodof
news itemsaboutan
AssociatedPress (AP)-
initiated reportwhich
foundanapparent lackof
directevidence toprove
thatflossingwaseffective.
1
that lookedat
twoprevious systematic
reviewson this topic
comparing theuseof
a toothbrushalone
versusacombinationof
toothbrushanddental
floss, themost recentone
being theprestigious
CochraneLibrary report
2
published in2011.
FLOSSING:
YesorNo?
What shouldadentist ordental hygienist say toapatientwhoquestions
the value of flossing?
NEWS ITEMS/REPORTS
• TheAPpresented its article asadramaticexposé, but itdidnot actually reveal any
newclinical findings since the
.
• The subsequent news itemsdidn’t explainhow therearemultiple risk factors for
developing toothdecayandgumdiseases and that thesediseases can takea long
time todevelop.
• Bypresenting faultyor incomplete information,without proper context, to those
whomight be looking for justificationnot tofloss, these stories could jeopardize
thepublic’soral health.
WHATWEKNOW
• Dental plaquecanbegin theprocesses that cause toothdecayandgumdisease if
it’s allowed to remainon the surfacesof teeth formore than24hours.
• Theonlywayplaquecanbe removed ismechanically,withamanual or electric
toothbrush (whichgets thecheekand tongue surfacesof teeth) andflossor other
cleaningaids (whichclean thehiddenor hard-to-reach surfacesof teeth).
• Although there isno100%direct scientificevidenceat this timewhichproves that
flossingon itsown reduces thechanceof toothdecayandgumdisease, there is
strong indirect evidence that themechanical removal of dental plaque fromhard-
to-reach tooth surfaces is effective inpreventing theseconditions.Wealsohave
evidencecollected in theCochraneLibrary review that peoplewhobrushand
floss regularlyhave lessgumbleedingcompared to toothbrushingalone.
Weaskedmembers of theEditorialAdvisoryGroup* of the Journal of the
CanadianDentalAssociation (JCDA.ca) to comment on thesefindings and
toprovideadvice onhowCanadiandentists could talkwith theirpatients
aboutflossing.
Hereare the insights of the experts thatwe spokewith.
*ThemembersoftheJCDA.caEditorialAdvisoryGroupare
Drs.AmirAzarpazhooh,ElhamEmami,JocelyneFeine,Hugh
Kim,MichaelGlogauer,DeboraMatthewsandRobertSchroth.
–CDAStatement onFlossing –
The Canadian Dental Association supports flossing as one step of maintaining healthy teeth
and gums. Flossing is an effective preventativemeasure to remove plaque, themain cause of
gum disease. Theweakness of the evidence supporting the value of floss in the prevention of
gumdisease is a reflectionof thedifficulty of conducting thenecessary studies, not of the value
of flossing for themaintenanceof goodoral health. Brushing, flossing, eatingahealthydiet,
and seeing your dentist regularly are all steps inpreserving ahealthymouth.
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