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Statement from the American Dental Association about Dental Floss and Interdental Cleaners

CHICAGO, Illinois – Recent news reports question whether existing scientific research support oral health benefits associated with flossing.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), interdental cleaners such as floss are an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums. Cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease from the areas where a toothbrush canít reach. Interdental cleaning is proven to help remove debris between teeth that can contribute to plaque buildup.

More than 500 bacterial species can be found in plaque; some are good and some are bad for your mouth. Together with food debris, water and other components, the plaque buildup around the teeth and on the gum line will contribute to disease in teeth and gums.

Whether you use floss or another interdental cleaner is a personal preference, but itís very important to understand the proper technique for each tool so that it is effective. Patients should talk to their dentists about how to use interdental cleaners to ensure efficacy.

To maintain good oral health, the American Dental Association recommends brushing for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner and regular dental visits advised by your dentist.

About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 158,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit ADA.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website MouthHealthy.org

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