The Great Dental Floss Debate

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Patient Attraction Episode 889

It was widely reported in early August that a review of the evidence in favor of flossing didn’t validate the benefits in terms of reducing gum disease. Your dental patients are going to read or hear that news, and for some of them, the effects will go well beyond whether to floss or not. When we come back, I’ll tell you why this could be bad news for your practice.

– Thanks for tuning in to the Patient Attraction Podcast™.

– I’m Colin Receveur.

– The evidence review in August found inconclusive proof for the effectiveness of flossing in preventing gum disease.

– That’s bad news for your patients, because a lot of people don’t need much reason to avoid doing something they don’t want to do anyway.

– The review did find that professional flossing for 5 days did show a statistically significant benefit – a reduction in interproximal caries.

– The benefits of professional flossing didn’t show at 3 and 6 months, though.

– How many of your patients will take this news as a reason to neglect their teeth?

– And as proof that when it comes to their teeth, they should disregard anything that dentists say?

– There’s been a strong “anti-science” tendency emerging in the last decade in the United States.

– You can see that in the vaccine debate, the global warming debate, the GMO debate, and even in the amalgam filling debate.

– There’s a growing mistrust of “authority figures,” whether they’re scientists, politicians, or medical professionals.

– The so-called “halo effect” has a lot to do with that.

– That’s where a perception of someone’s physical attractiveness – or the value of their service, product, or research – colors their entire perception of that person.

– For the science deniers, if the science looks bad, then the people associated with the science must be bad.

– That attitude is what the dental floss debate will fuel among a certain section of the population.

– There haven’t been any studies so far that link science denial with a reluctance to get dental care.

– But the evidence is glaring when it comes to medical care.

– How will you address the “debate” about flossing?

– Fortunately, flossing is “low-risk, high-reward” proposition with little to no downside and a potentially high upside.

– What the review showed is that there isn’t sufficient evidence for flossing to claim effectiveness.

– But your experience, and that of your hygienists, is also evidence.

– The effectiveness of flossing is dependent on technique.

– That’s what you need to stress in your practice, and that’s the evidence that you need to present to your patients and to your prospects.

– Join me for our next podcast.

– Until then, keep moving forward.