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When we asked dentists what they recommend patients use to clean between teeth, dental floss was king. However, some doctors prefer interdental brushes or floss picks.
"For those that say they will not floss, we recommend products like Rotopoints or irrigators until we find one they can commit to," said one
Here are dentists’ preferences for cleaning in between teeth, listed in order:
- Regular dental floss (64%)
- Interdental brush or cleaner (13%)
- Floss pick (11%)
- Power flosser (3%)
Something is always better than nothing
- "I just want them to floss with something." (California dentist)
- "As a general rule we recommend Glide floss. But for those who say they will not floss, we recommend other products like Rotopoints, interdental brushes, water irrigators, etc. until we find a method they can commit to." (Kentucky dentist)
The limitations of dental floss
- "I recommend conventional floss and proxabrush. Floss will not clean roots well." (Georgia periodontist)
- "If they are willing to floss, then floss is my first choice. But being a periodontist, most of my patients either don’t floss or have spaces between the teeth. Not only is the interdental brush more convenient and simple to use, but it does a better job." (Periodontist)
Dentists and hygienists need to demonstrate technique
- "I interview all my new patients, and I can count on one hand the number of them in the last 10 years that tell me their dentist or hygienist ever had THEM demonstrate their oral cleansing technique(s) – not on models or done for them while looking at a mirror. We all know that what happens between appointments is the major part of oral health. Given this, my hygienist spends time in the beginning reiterating the oral-systemic connection, has the patient demonstrate their plaque control technique, and THEN makes the appropriate recommendations. Some patients have great dexterity and some are klutzes. How can we look at a poorly maintained, unhealthy mouth without first doing this? For some, it’s tantamount to giving them a skateboard and telling them to ride it." (General dentist)
Note: Survey sample included 61 respondents.