“Hey – I heard flossing doesn’t do anything!”

You are probably aware that last week the latest dietary guidelines issued by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services quietly and without notice dropped any mention of flossing . At the same time, The Associated Press reported that officials had never researched the effectiveness of regular flossing, as required, before cajoling Americans to do it.

Chances are your patients don’t read anything printed by the Department of Agriculture, but they certainly watch The Today Show and all of the other “light news” outlets that seem to delight in reporting the story. After all – everyone likes to think that their hocking hygienist was wrong all along.

This is just what we need – one more reason to get people not to floss!

A close look shows they are not saying flossing is not effective; just that there have never been any really good studies on the subject. But although this is anecdotal – as dental professionals we see first-hand the benefits of flossing every single day!

So how will you answer the inevitable question:

“Hey Doc! I heard that flossing doesn’t do anything! Do I even need to do it?”

Try something like this:

“Well Melvin, every day in this office we see that flossing does a great job in helping to prevent gum disease, and gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults. There is no question that flossing removes plaque and debris lodged between your teeth, and that is certainly good for your overall health.

It’s kind of like showering every day. There may not be any great studies showing that it’s good for you, but it should be part of your hygiene routine – and flossing should too! All of us do it, and we still highly recommend that you do too!”

Or you could just say:

“No problem – don’t floss. May we set up your denture appointment?”