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Posted by: The Probe 16th April 2021
In February, the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) was delighted to help support Flossuary – an initiative that encouraged individuals to clean interdentally for 28 days in a row throughout the month. This challenge was created in order to help patients appreciate the difference that this regime could make to their gum health, and provided those who took part with multiple resources such as advice on which products to use, video tutorials to teach them how to effectively clean interdentally , and a free starter pack for UK residents.
As you’re well aware, interdental cleaning is a fundamental part of maintaining good oral health, and yet there are still patients who don’t include it in their oral health routines at home. In fact, according to statistics gathered in the UK, only 31% of Brits clean interdentally every day.[i]
The reasons behind not flossing will vary from person to person, but some of the more common answers are that it’s too time consuming, it’s painful, or that they simply find the sensation of interdental cleaning unpleasant.[ii] As such, it’s our role as dental hygienists and therapists to help patients overcome these concerns.
For example, if someone finds flossing too time consuming, it’s a good idea to speak to them about available alternatives. Other methods such as water flossers and interdental brushes may be a more convenient and swift solution that they can better work into their routines. It’s also worth addressing the pain issue – it’s likely people experiencing pain when cleaning interdentally may have minor gum disease or be cleaning incorrectly. As such, it’s important to reiterate to patients that regular interdental cleaning will help treat gum disease, eliminating the pain issue. Plus, if they are struggling to clean properly using their chosen products, show them videos or ask them to demonstrate their interdental cleaning technique.
Flossuary was a great success, with lots of practices participating and their patients realising the benefits. Even though this initiative is over, that doesn’t mean that you can’t set your patients similar challenges throughout the year to help them get into the groove with cleaning interdentally at least once a day.
Diane Rochford, President of the BSDHT commented:
“Flossuary was excellent for everyone who got involved. I had patients who not only saw a marked improvement in their gum health, but also told me that interdental cleaning is now fitting into their daily routines more easily than ever due to them trying different products and techniques. Gum health is critical to overall oral health, and Flossuary made it clear that people are willing to learn and make the change if you give them the right tools to succeed!”
With millions of British people still not cleaning interdentally on a regular basis, it’s definitely a good opportunity to encourage patients to make a change and improve their gum health by cleaning interdentally just once per day.
If you need any support, resources or advice, the BSDHT is here to help. To find out about becoming a member, contact the team today.
For more information about the BSDHT, please visit www.bsdht.org.uk
call 01788 575050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
[i] YouGov. Three In Ten Brits Only Brush Their Teeth Once A Day. Link: https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2017/10/23/three-ten-brits-only-brush-their-teeth-once-day [Last accessed January 2021].
[ii] ADA. New Survey Highlights Unusual Flossing Habits. Link: https://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2017-archive/october/new-survey-highlights-unusual-flossing-habits [Last accessed January 21].
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