Following coverage in the news that there is a lack of evidence that using dental floss is beneficial to oral health, leading health charity, the Oral Health Foundation, have highlighted the continued importance of regular interdental cleaning.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation said: “Brushing alone only cleans three of the five surfaces of our teeth, so cleaning between our teeth is a critical part of good oral hygiene as it helps to prevent gum disease by removing plaque from areas the toothbrush alone cannot reach.

“For some time the recommendation in the UK has been to use interdental brushes rather than floss as the evidence for their effectiveness is stronger.

“In recent years’ gum disease has been linked with general health conditions such as diabetes, strokes, cardiovascular disease, poor pregnancy outcomes and even dementia so the importance of looking after the health of our gums through a good oral hygiene routine is even more important than ever.

“Interdental cleaning removes the plaque from in between the teeth which is the area where most dental decay and gum disease starts.

“There is no suggestion that flossing can be damaging to oral health, just limited evidence as to its effectiveness. If you’re flossing, and you’re flossing well, it will cause no harm and it is probably not advisable to give up but you might want to try interdental brushes as an alternative.

Always ask the advice of your dentists or hygienist as to what is best for your mouth and they will also be able to tell you how effective you are in your cleaning.

“Cleaning in between the teeth is particularly important for vulnerable patients, such as the elderly, the very young and those with auto-immune disease who are all more susceptible to infections from the bacteria in their mouth.”