Dentist Insists that Flossing Teeth Is a Waste of Time

Dentist Insists that Flossing Teeth Is a Waste of TimeDentist, Ellie Phillips, has written a tell-all oral health book, Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye, where she shares her oral care expertise and how anyone can achieve a “truly healthy mouth.”

And Phillips shares one controversial tip: She insists that flossing your teeth will do nothing to reduce the risk of tooth decay.

In 2004, a long-term study found that rinsing twice daily with an Antiseptic mouth-rinse like Listerine was as effective at reducing plaque and gingivitis as flossing once daily.

The results were published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA).

Dr. Phillips supports this finding, arguing that rather than flossing, all dental patients need to do is use 3 different types of mouth rinses every day.

“As a liquid solution, Listerine Antiseptic easily flows into these hard to reach areas between teeth and with a microbial action kills the germs that cause plaque and gingivitis.” says Christine Charles, RDH Associate Director, Oral Care Clinical Research at Pfizer Consumer Healthcare and one of the leads for two studies comparing the effectiveness of Listerine Antiseptic and flossing.

Dr. Phillips specialty is preventive dental care and her life’s passion is to bring honest oral health education to dental patients. She is a member of the American Dental Association, the New York State Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists. She is a graduate of Eastman Dental Center, Rochester, NY with qualifications in pediatric and general dentistry. She is an honorary member of the Eastman Academy, University of London, England. Recently Dr. Phillips was the pediatric outpatient clinic director at the Eastman Dental Center and a faculty member at the University of Rochester.

She states, “I want patients to be able to access the truth about teeth. Health professionals should be tested (like a CPR test) on evidence-based study results that indicate many diagnostic methods are ineffective and that patients can actually “clean” their own teeth with the correct o-t-c- products and avoid treatments.”

“Today we are talking about National Health Care – be careful what you wish for! The UK has had free dental services for over sixty years – and the British are known for the worst teeth in the world. Why? The reason unfortunately lies in the fact that you will receive whatever treatment dentists are paid for.” Dr. Phillips continues, “In the UK, when I graduated, dentists were paid more to take out teeth and heavily fill them than do any preventive work. Many teenagers had dentures given to them as “wedding gifts”. Sadly there are serious general health complications from dental disease and tooth loss.” (Amazon)

Hmm… have you read Dr. Phillips book? What are your thoughts? Do you feel flossing is unnecessary? Could this somehow be a marketing play… for Big Pharma?

Here’s a video with Dr. Phillips explaining her technique —

For more on this story see: Is flossing your teeth a waste of time?

Ancient Oral Health: How Dental Plaque Reveals Hominids’ Diet

Ancient Oral Health: How Dental Plaque Reveals Hominids' DietNewswise is reporting on a 2 million-year-old mishap that befell two early members of the human family tree that is providing the most robust evidence to date of what at least one pair of hominins ate.

A team of researchers including Peter Ungar, Distinguished Professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas, disclose their findings today in the journal Nature.

Almost 2 million years ago, an elderly female and young male of the species Australopithecus sediba fell into a sinkhole, where their remains were quickly buried in sediment.

In 2010, anthropologist Lee Berger of the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and his colleagues described the remains of this newly characterized creature.

Now a team of scientists has studied the teeth of these specimens, which proved to have unique properties because of how the hominins died.

“We have a very unusual type of preservation,” Ungar said. “The state of the teeth was pristine.”

Since the two individuals were buried underground and quickly encased in sediment, parts of the teeth were even preserved with a pocket of air surrounding them.

Because of this, the researchers were able to perform dental microwear analyses of the tooth surfaces and high-resolution isotope studies of the tooth enamel on these well-preserved teeth. In addition, because the teeth had not been exposed to the elements since death, they also harbored another thing not discovered before in early hominins – areas of preserved tartar buildup around the edges of the teeth.

In this plaque, the scientists found phytoliths, bodies of silica from plants eaten almost 2 million years ago by these early hominids.

“It’s the first time we’ve been able to look at these three things in one or two specimens,” Ungar said.

Using the isotope analysis, the dental microwear analysis and the phytolith analysis, the researchers closed in on the diet of these two individuals, and what they found differs from other early human ancestors from that period. The microwear on the teeth showed more pits and complexity than most other australopiths before it.

Like the microwear, the isotopes also showed that the animals were consuming mostly parts of trees, shrubs or herbs rather than grasses.

The phytoliths gave an even clearer picture of what the animals were consuming, including bark, leaves, sedges, grasses, fruit and palm.

“We get a sense of an animal that looked like it was taking advantage of forest resources,” Ungar said. This kind of food consumption differs from what had been seen in evidence from other australopiths.

“They come out looking like giraffes in terms of their tooth chemistry. A lot of the other creatures there were not eating such forest resources.”

“These findings tell us a really nice story about these two individuals,” Ungar said. “It’s fascinating that we found something that went into the mouth of these creatures that was still in the mouth of these creatures.”

Ungar conducted the microwear analysis. Amanda Henry of the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany; Marion Bamford of the University of Witwatersrand; and Lloyd Rossouw of the National Museum Bloemfontein in South Africa conducted the analysis of the phytoliths. Benjamin Passey of Johns Hopkins University; Matt Sponheimer and Paul Sandberg of the University of Colorado at Boulder; and Darryl de Ruiter of Texas A&M conducted the isotope analysis. Lee Berger of the University of Witwatersrand oversaw the project.

See Newswise article: First Plant Material Found on Ancient Hominins’ Teeth

Science Friday: Poor Oral Hygiene Linked to Higher Cancer Risk?

Science Friday: Poor Oral Hygiene Linked to Higher Cancer Risk?An observational Swedish study has revealed that out of almost 1400 people studied between 1985 and 2009 where 35 of the participants died of cancer, the cancer patients had higher levels of dental plaque than the survivors, as reported by

The researchers at the Karolinska Institute and the University of Helsinki revealed that participants in the study with high levels of dental plaque were 80% more likely to die prematurely of cancer during the 24-year study period than people with little to no dental plaque.

According to the Austrailian News, the study authors wrote, “Our study hypothesis was confirmed by the finding that poor [mouth] hygiene, as reflected in the amount of dental plaque, was associated with increased cancer mortality.”

The reasearchers have not determined that bad oral hygiene actually causes cancer, but state that what they found was only observational. But they warn that plaque could be a contributing factor in people with existing genetic predispositions to cancer.

“We don’t know if dental plaque could be a real causal part of cancer,” lead author Birgitta Soder of the department of dental sciences at the Karolinska Institute tells “But it is a little scary to see that something we all have in our mouths can play such a role.”

What are your thoughts? Do you think poor oral hygiene can contribute to a higher cancer risk?

Read more at: Got Plaque? It May Be Linked with Early Cancer Death

The Amazing Super Foods that Improve Oral Health

The Amazing Super Foods that Improve Oral HealthThe American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry has just released a free e-booklet to help inform dental patients about the latest research on foods that promote oral health, along with recipes that incorporate these healty food ingredients for patients to try.

The AACD reports that recent studies have shown that what dental patients eat can have both a positive and negative impact on their oral health.

The Academy decided to help consumers identify foods that are good for the teeth and gums by creating the Recipes for a Healthier Smile e-booklet.

The free e-booklet features breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert recipes using fruits, vegetables, grains, and other ingredients experts have identified as “super-smile” foods.

There are also tips on foods that can play havoc with teeth such as soda, dark berries and dried fruits, as well as a list of healthful ingredients and their specific benefits.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry foods for better oral health

Dr. Shawn Frawley, AACD member and Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist, is a gourmet cook who worked together with nutritionist and health coach Karen Krchma to create these healthy, easy-to-make recipes for the AACD to make available for dental patients.

Dr. Frawley explained that “The teeth and gums mirror what’s going on in the rest of your body. Therefore, what you consume influences the health of your smile.”

The dental care e-booklet providing a variety of wholesome recipes is available by clicking here. (Opens in a pdf)

For more on this story see: Free e-Booklet: Recipes for a Healthier Smile


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