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The often-neglected dental floss has received new support from a study that showed that all four types of floss helped remove plaque more effectively than brushing alone.
Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School and the Health Care Research Center at Proctor & Gamble found that using unwaxed, woven, shred-resistant or a powered flosser worked "significantly" better in removing plaque than brushing alone.
A randomized, five-period study examined how effective plaque removal was in 25 subjects using an American Dental Association (ADA) reference manual toothbrush alone along with each of the four types of floss and rated the amount of plaque found on the teeth before and after brushing for one minute using the Rustogi modified Navy plaque index.
The powered flosser removed the most plaque in conjunction with brushing compared to the other three types of floss, yet there was no significant difference between the three traditional floss products.
The ADA recommends that everyone should brush their teeth twice a day using an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste, replacing toothbrushes every three to four months or as soon as the bristles become frayed.
Flossing daily with floss or an interdental cleaner is also important as it reaches the areas where toothbrushes can't remove plaque and food particles under the gum line. Eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks between meals can also reduce the amount of food particles that are deposited around teeth and gums.
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