British Society of Periodontology Statement on Flossing


2 August 2016

Following articles published today in various national newspapers, the British Society of Periodontology would like to make the following statement with regard to comments made by the Associated Press in the United States about the ineffectiveness of flossing.

Evidence supports the use of small interdental brushes for cleaning between the teeth, where there is space to do so, in preference to flossing. The recommendation from the 11th European Workshop on the prevention of gum diseases (2015) to patients is : “Daily cleaning between your teeth using special interdental brushes is essential for treating and preventing gum disease. Floss is of little value unless the spaces between your teeth are too tight for the interdental brushes to fit without hurting or causing harm.” Therefore, floss is not a waste of time - it is a viable alternative to interdental brushing where appropriate. Public Health England makes a similar recommendation.

The British Society of Periodontology has just launched a national gum heath awareness campaign ( in conjunction with Public Health England to raise awareness of the importance of gum health, not just for oral health but to promote good general health. One of the key messages is that daily interdental cleaning is an important health measure to prevent the onset of gum disease. The British Society of Periodontology would be happy to put forward a spokesperson for interview on request.

Philip Ower
President, British Society of Periodontology


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