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Old 08-09-2019, 12:35 PM
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Medical benefits of dental floss unproven - what about Fluoride ?


A few years back, it was as published that the data showed that flossing had no medical benefits. https://apnews.com/f7e66079d9ba4b4985d7af350619a9e3

Are there similar studies on fluoride treatments ?
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Old 08-09-2019, 12:49 PM
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A few years back, it was as published that the data showed that flossing had no medical benefits.
That's not what it says. It says that there isn't adequate research showing flossing makes a difference.
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Old 08-09-2019, 12:52 PM
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That's not what the studies said. There is a difference between a "lack of scientific evidence proving that flossing has a medical benefit" and "evidence that flossing has no medical benefit". The studies only purport to show the former, not that latter. The issue, as your own cite shows, is that legitimate scientific studies are expensive and problematic. There has been no study showing that flossing has no medical benefit. There hasn't been a good study showing it does, either.
As for fluoride, there have been plenty of studies showing that increased sources of fluoride over the past decades have elevated our exposure to potentially harmful levels. There is a listing of many such studies on the IOAMT Fact Sheet, here: https://files.iaomt.org/wp-content/u...man-Health.pdf
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:14 PM
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I think periodontal disease springs from autoimmune issues. Regular cleanings and flossing are like frequent bathing to treat your lupus. Nothing elicits lots of silent blinking from my doctor like complaining about my autoimmune symptoms.

ETA: I didn't notice this thread was in GQ. I withdraw my snarky response.

Last edited by pohjonen; 08-09-2019 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
That's not what the studies said. There is a difference between a "lack of scientific evidence proving that flossing has a medical benefit" and "evidence that flossing has no medical benefit". The studies only purport to show the former, not that latter. The issue, as your own cite shows, is that legitimate scientific studies are expensive and problematic. There has been no study showing that flossing has no medical benefit. There hasn't been a good study showing it does, either.
As for fluoride, there have been plenty of studies showing that increased sources of fluoride over the past decades have elevated our exposure to potentially harmful levels. There is a listing of many such studies on the IOAMT Fact Sheet, here: https://files.iaomt.org/wp-content/u...man-Health.pdf
That's a terrible cite: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Intern...and_Toxicology
https://www.quackwatch.org/04Consume...org/iaomt.html

Fluoride has definitely led to a reduction in cavities and tooth decay:
https://www.ada.org/en/public-progra...or-communities

Here's one from the National Institutes of Health:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6195894/

Here's the conclusion:

Quote:
Dental treatments are expensive throughout the world. The cost of dentistry has hardly been reduced, even in countries where the decline in caries began 30 years ago. Thus, extension of preventive dentistry is still indispensable for improving oral health (12). The absence of dental care and poor hygiene are still considered the main causes of dental decay (34). Although multifactorial in origin, caries is a preventable disease, with fluoride as a preventive agent used worldwide. Several modes of fluoride use have evolved, each with its own recommended concentration, frequency of use, and dosage schedule. Concurrently, recent opposition has been growing worldwide against fluoridation, emphasizing the potential and serious risk of toxicity. Since the fluoride benefit is mainly topical, perhaps it is better to deliver fluoride directly to the tooth instead of ingesting it (34). Fluoride toothpaste, rinses and varnish applications have proven their effectiveness in some countries, but they are still not universally affordable.
Since the OP is just asking about fluoride, not the method of delivery, there is little doubt that topical fluoride (in toothpaste, for example) is effective in preventing tooth decay.
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:00 PM
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That's not what it says. It says that there isn't adequate research showing flossing makes a difference.
Or, put another way:

“The few investigations into the subject have major design flaws. Inadequate though these were, none of them found that flossing is ineffective or harmful. Flossing probably doesn’t hurt, but we can’t really say how much it helps or even if it helps.”

I wrote that out of frustration with the standard medical expression: “There is no evidence to show that X is effective in preventing Y.”

While that’s often literally true, it’s too often read by laypeople (and a surprising number of physicians) as “X is probably ineffective at preventing Y.”

My complaint is that “there is no evidence” doesn’t distinguish between

- “no one has studied that yet,”

- “some studies exist, but I think they’re horseshit,”

- “some studies exist, but there’s broad consensus that they’re horseshit,” and

- “there is definitive proof that X does not prevent Y.”

It would be irresponsible and grossly misleading to say “there is no evidence to show that X prevents Y” when there’s definitive proof that it doesn’t, but it’s still a true statement.

Saying that “there is no evidence” can be appropriate and useful in certain contexts, but it’s often a terrible way to communicate the state of our current understanding to the general public.

It’s commonly observed that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It’s common partly because (IMHO) it’s an important corollary to “no evidence.”

I’d speculate that the noncommittal vagueness in “there is no evidence to show...” stems from an overzealous application of the precautionary principle. But this is GQ, so I’ll refrain from making that observation.
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
[...]
Since the OP is just asking about fluoride, not the method of delivery, there is little doubt that topical fluoride (in toothpaste, for example) is effective in preventing tooth decay.
I’m no chemist, but the mechanism for this seems to be well understood—apparently, the fluoride enables the remineralization of teeth by substituting fluorapatite for the “native” hydroxyapatite.

I believe the OP is a chemical engineer (and said so in another thread), so this question surprises me a bit.

OP, do you believe the the mechanism of action is misunderstood? Do you have some other reason to think that fluoride is ineffective?

Unlike myself, you have considerable expertise in chemistry, so I’m curious about what’s prompting you to ask.

Last edited by EdelweissPirate; 08-09-2019 at 02:27 PM. Reason: Embiggened the concision
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Old 08-10-2019, 02:05 AM
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Flossing all of your teeth is totally unnecessary. This is a proven fact. Dentists will tell you it's only necessary to floss the teeth you want to keep.
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Old 08-10-2019, 02:15 AM
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Does the OP need a study that the spinach you had for lunch last Wednesday and got lodged in your teeth might start to smell if you don't floss from time to time?
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Old 08-10-2019, 06:38 AM
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Does the OP need a study that the spinach you had for lunch last Wednesday and got lodged in your teeth might start to smell if you don't floss from time to time?
This.

A rigorous study is not necessary because we already know the answer: cleaning your teeth & gums a couple times a day is important for good oral health. This includes all of the surface area.

In addition to cleaning the areas on the tooth surfaces between the teeth, flossing breaks up the bacteria that is growing on the gums between the teeth.

There's no reason to spend millions of dollars on a study when the question can be answered using common sense.
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Old 08-10-2019, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
That's a terrible cite: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Intern...and_Toxicology
https://www.quackwatch.org/04Consume...org/iaomt.html

Fluoride has definitely led to a reduction in cavities and tooth decay:
https://www.ada.org/en/public-progra...or-communities

Here's one from the National Institutes of Health:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6195894/

Here's the conclusion:

Since the OP is just asking about fluoride, not the method of delivery, there is little doubt that topical fluoride (in toothpaste, for example) is effective in preventing tooth decay.
I was citing the studies compiled in the bibliography of that fact sheet. Attacking the agency responsible for compiling the studies is an ad hominem. Further, I never claimed that Flouride does not prevent cavities or tooth decay. Nor did I imply that any of those studies did so. I merely informed the OP that there are plenty of studies conducted on the use of Flouride which warn of its overuse. Citing a study that shows Fluoride prevents cavities does not counter the claim that too much Fluoride can be dangerous.
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Old 08-10-2019, 05:42 PM
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I merely informed the OP that there are plenty of studies conducted on the use of Flouride which warn of its overuse.
There aren't "plenty" of water fluoridation studies showing significant health effects; there's some evidence that dental fluorosis (staining of teeth, often difficult to detect) can occur if fluoride levels are too high, something known from situations in which fluoride is naturally elevated in drinking water. For this reason, the U.S. government a few years ago recommended a lower level of municipal water fluoridation, as people have been gettting fluoride from other sources including but not limited to toothpaste.

There are of course "plenty" of alt health and conspiracy-minded websites warning of all sorts of dire chronic ailments from drinking fluoridated water. For the evidence-based crowd (which I hope includes Dopers), there's abundant reassuring data.
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Old 08-11-2019, 12:18 AM
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Flossing all of your teeth is totally unnecessary. This is a proven fact. Dentists will tell you it's only necessary to floss the teeth you want to keep.
Dentists say a lot of things. There's a lot about the practice of dentistry that's based on somewhat inadequate, if any, scientific consensus. Flossing certainly doesn't hurt, but its proven benefits are quite nebulous.
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Old 08-11-2019, 05:56 AM
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I was citing the studies compiled in the bibliography of that fact sheet. Attacking the agency responsible for compiling the studies is an ad hominem. Further, I never claimed that Flouride does not prevent cavities or tooth decay. Nor did I imply that any of those studies did so. I merely informed the OP that there are plenty of studies conducted on the use of Flouride which warn of its overuse. Citing a study that shows Fluoride prevents cavities does not counter the claim that too much Fluoride can be dangerous.
First of all, the OP didn't ask about the risk of over-fluoridation, but whether there's evidence that fluoride has medical benefits. Do you agree that the answer to that is yes? Your answer was basically off-topic, since everything that has medical or health benefits will be dangerous if levels get too high.

Second, I looked at the cites and the first was a cite to a paper published by themselves and the second was to a veterinary paper. I didn't bother looking any further.
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Old 08-11-2019, 06:29 AM
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Dentists say a lot of things. There's a lot about the practice of dentistry that's based on somewhat inadequate, if any, scientific consensus. Flossing certainly doesn't hurt, but its proven benefits are quite nebulous.
Sounds like the philosophy of a toothless individual.
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Old 08-11-2019, 06:55 AM
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I read a discussion of the news report when it was published. One point I remember was that one reason few good studies about dentistry practices have been done is that tooth damage is not reversible; teeth -- and gums also to a different extent -- are not self-healing. You are not going to find a lot of ethically-designed studies which will end in the control group living with damaged teeth for the rest of their lives.
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:17 AM
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... A rigorous study is not necessary because we already know the answer ... <snip> ...
There's no reason to spend millions of dollars on a study when the question can be answered using common sense.
"Common sense", or at least what people thought was common sense, has very often been wrong. especially in matters of healthcare.

Things people think they "already know" are very commonly myths. Or religious belief systems.

Reality is that only 30% of Americans floss daily and 32% never floss, or at least admit such when polled. (Generally infrequent and never flossers lie to their dentists.) Apparently some who do floss daily don't "do it incorrectly."

Right now there is not evidence that the never and infrequent flossers are on the basis of not flossing at any increase dental, gum, or other general health increased risks. There is no evidence that it causes harm either and evidence that is convincing that it does not decrease ... or increase ... any of those risks is also lacking.

Certainly if there was a clinically significant difference it would be not hard to find, at least as suggestive data using cohort studies and matching for known confounders like SES, dietary habits, and smoking status. Basically there should be a clear epidemic of gingivitis among the nevers and very little in the daily flossers. The lack of such studies is pretty damning. Either the question is too trivial to ask, or the studies have been done and aren't published as negative findings are sometimes not.

Flossing is indeed a low cost and most likely low risk behavior. It may make your breath smell better. But no, we do not "already know the answer" and there is no evidence whatsoever that the minority who floss daily (or more) are, from a health perspective, any better off from their daily time and hassle investments than the majority who don't.
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Old 08-11-2019, 09:46 AM
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Sounds like the philosophy of a toothless individual.
No. Do you actually have anything relevant to contribute?
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Old 08-11-2019, 12:46 PM
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Does the OP need a study that the spinach you had for lunch last Wednesday and got lodged in your teeth might start to smell if you don't floss from time to time?

When I feel something wedged between my teeth, I floss in that spot. Otherwise, I just brush my teeth regularly and thoroughly (with no toothpaste, just a lot of rinsing with water), and periodically use a tool to scrape away tartar. More than four decades in, I have all my teeth, and just one filling.
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Old 08-11-2019, 01:48 PM
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Why is the question actually worth asking?

From the article linked to in the op -
Quote:
Even companies with a big market share of the flossing business — by next year, the global market is predicted to reach almost $2 billion, with half in the United States, according to publisher MarketSizeInfo.com — struggled to provide convincing evidence of their claims that floss reduces plaque or gingivitis. Yet the industry has paid for most studies ...
Yes. That reads $2 BILLION a year ... half of it in the United States. And of course the value of the time. A minute or two every day doing something you do not enjoy. Roughly 4 hours of unenjoyable time per year. $2 billion a year spent for something that adds significant quality-adjusted years of life could be money very well spent. But if it actually doesn't do anything, other than waste your time and money?

No question a prospective randomized controlled trial (RCT) powered sufficiently to fairly definitively answer the question would be expensive. But again a cohort study (even a case control study* controlling for known confounders) would be not too hard or too expensive to do. It could be piggybacked into something like the Nurse's Health Study fairly easily or done on its own. The quality of evidence of cohort and case control studies is not on the level of a prospective RCT but it is still pretty good.

And again given that, my guess is that the industry has indeed done such studies, gotten the answer but not the one they wanted, and sat on it.

*Identify populations with and out periodontal disease, match for known confounders and characteristics, and determine if rates of never vs daily flossing in the past are significantly different in those with and without that outcome.

Last edited by DSeid; 08-11-2019 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 08-11-2019, 06:14 PM
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...There are of course "plenty" of alt health and conspiracy-minded websites warning of all sorts of dire chronic ailments from drinking fluoridated water....
"Mandrake, have you never wondered why I drink only distilled water, or rain water, and only pure-grain alcohol?"
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Old 08-11-2019, 06:55 PM
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Yes. That reads $2 BILLION a year ... half of it in the United States.
I also heard the #1 producer of dental floss is headquartered in Montana, and has been there since 1974.
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Old 08-11-2019, 07:39 PM
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...my guess is that the industry has indeed done such studies (on flossing), gotten the answer but not the one they wanted, and sat on it.
The Dental Floss Conspiracy indeed runs deep and wide.
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:59 PM
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Is it really so hard to believe an industry whose substantial profits are based almost entirely around expert recommendations would endeavor to protect those profits?
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Old 08-11-2019, 10:25 PM
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I also heard the #1 producer of dental floss is headquartered in Montana, and has been there since 1974.
Sounds like a tycoon.
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:58 AM
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No. Do you actually have anything relevant to contribute?
Settle down. Flossing is like abortion in that there are those who believe in the necessity and those who do not, for whatever reason and it's unlikely there will ever be the consensus on the issue or the one you seem to seek on flossing.

Do you floss?

Regardless of your position, go with it. They're your teeth.
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:52 AM
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The Dental Floss Conspiracy indeed runs deep and wide.
I'm not too surprised at your naivete but an industry-run study getting pocket-vetoed when its results are against the industry's interest (selective reporting) is not exactly a moon landing hoax; it is pretty well accepted as an issue by the mainstream of medicine. And anyway floss runs long and narrow.

I am surprised though by your lack of contempt at the dismissal of the need for actual scientific method as the basis for recommendations "because we already know the answer" and on the basis of "common sense". You and I have been at this about as long as each other, dating back to before thinking beyond what some expert "said" was true and critically evaluating the actual data was rebranded as a new thing of "evidence-based medicine" and both have seen many recommendations that were things we all "already knew" and advised by most experts turn out to be ineffective or harmful under the light of critical review of actual quality studies.

There is no published evidence that demonstrates flossing as done at home by most people is ineffective (or effective) but the lack of a published decent even case control study is if not damning then minimally pathetic for dental science. It's one their core bits of home care recommendation, something Americans alone spend a billion dollars a year on and hours a year each of doing something they dislike. And even a decent case control study is too much to expect?

Dereknocue67, no this is not "like abortion" ... questions of the morality of abortion are religious ones, the space of "revealed truths", not answerable by data. The question of flossing's efficacy or inefficacy in preventing clinically relevant disease or dysfunction is very answerable by evidence.
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Old 08-12-2019, 08:36 AM
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I use floss like I would use toothpicks. That is, when I can feel a bit of food stuck in between my teeth. Flossing removes the stuck bit of food. Therefore, flossing can be beneficial. No study required.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by DSeid;
[B
Dereknocue67[/B], no this is not "like abortion" ... questions of the morality of abortion are religious ones, the space of "revealed truths", not answerable by data. The question of flossing's efficacy or inefficacy in preventing clinically relevant disease or dysfunction is very answerable by evidence.
Your took a partial quote from my post and misinterpreted what I wrote. The point I made was about consensus, as stated and obviously there is none with abortion nor with flossing. Morality is a different issue for another day and/or another topic.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:21 AM
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The SDMB has to be the only place where people use a conspiracy theory to justify their shitty oral hygiene.
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:36 AM
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Your took a partial quote from my post and misinterpreted what I wrote. The point I made was about consensus, as stated and obviously there is none with abortion nor with flossing. Morality is a different issue for another day and/or another topic.
No, really, you are missing the highly significant difference. They are completely different things. For abortion we have nothing but consensus to go by. In a society in which different people have different religious truths we (currently) have a consensus that one group cannot impose this particular revealed truth upon others.

Issues like - does smoking cause lung cancer, does regular exercise reduce the risk of hypertension and other clinically significant outcomes, does flossing reduce adverse clinical outcomes (most proximately periodontal disease) - do not have to be the realm of data-free consensus and should be such as little as is possible.

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The SDMB has to be the only place where people use a conspiracy theory to justify their shitty oral hygiene.
SDMB, especially GQ, is in fact where skepticism thrives. Research regarding flossing has been mostly funded by and sometimes performed by the companies with a direct interest in having dentists continue to strongly promote flossing daily. There is really no question that industry funding causes a publication bias favorable to the sponsor and of results and conclusions that are favorable to sponsor's interests. That is no conspiracy theory; it is simple reality.

The efficacy or lack of efficacy of one of the main recommendations given by dentists, with that much time and money spent by Americans performing it, is not a trivial question of no importance. The companies that benefit from the billion dollars spent in America on it every year would no doubt love to have a study to point to that provides good evidence of its efficacy. It is not prohibitively expensive to do a good case control or retrospective cohort study and there are no ethical problems doing such. We have the solid evidence of fluoride's clinical efficacy (and an appreciation of its potential harms in excess) because it has been well studied. Its use is well supported. Why do we not have anything other than crap studies (and studies that fail to show any clinically significant benefit) of individuals flossing at home?
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:48 AM
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[QUOTE=DSeid;21801628]/QUOTE]

Have a nice day.
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Old 08-12-2019, 11:19 AM
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I'm not too surprised at your naivete but an industry-run study getting pocket-vetoed when its results are against the industry's interest (selective reporting) is not exactly a moon landing hoax; it is pretty well accepted as an issue by the mainstream of medicine.
You failed to consider the possibility that I am a shill for Big Floss.

Your belief that negative data from flossing studies is being concealed by Big Floss requires actual evidence. Otherwise, it falls in line with all manner of other health conspiracy theories covering such things as water fluoridation, statin prescribing and vaccines.*

*y'know, DOCTORS used to promote SMOKING in CIGARETTE ADS!! Don't trust anything they say!!! And DENTISTS are poisoning us with amalgam fillings and root canals!!!!!
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:31 PM
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If your teeth are straight (aligned properly) and not jacked up whack-a-mole teeth, then flossing is definitely less important, as brushing regularly will get most of the cleaning done. But if you've got teeth like your hillbilly cousin, then flossing will definitely make a difference as brushing will have a hard time getting in those nooks and crannies.
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:39 PM
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I use a Water Pik, it squirts a jet of water between my teeth to dislodge food without scraping my gums with a waxed garrote. I find it a bit more pleasant than flossing.

I’m not sure I need a study to tell me that leaving a chunk of meat to rot stuck between my molars for a week might be deleterious to my oral health.
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Old 08-12-2019, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jackmannii
There aren't "plenty" of water fluoridation studies showing significant health effects; there's some evidence that dental fluorosis (staining of teeth, often difficult to detect) can occur if fluoride levels are too high, something known from situations in which fluoride is naturally elevated in drinking water. For this reason, the U.S. government a few years ago recommended a lower level of municipal water fluoridation, as people have been gettting fluoride from other sources including but not limited to toothpaste.
So, you’re saying that people have been getting fluoride from more sources? You’re saying that because of this increased exposure to fluoride from multiple sources, the U.S. Government has stepped in and recommended a lower level of fluoride in municipal drinking water? How exactly is that statement any different than, “there have been plenty of studies showing that increased sources of fluoride over the past decades have elevated our exposure to potentially harmful levels.”
You seem to be focused on water fluoridation studies and drinking water. I never said fluoridated water was unsafe. I merely pointed out that there are studies (legitimate studies) exploring the dangers of high-level exposure to fluoride. In addition to the “staining of teeth” that you mention, “exposure to higher levels of fluoride may harm your health. Skeletal fluorosis can be caused by eating, drinking, or breathing very large amounts of fluorides. This disease only occurs after long-term exposures and can cause denser bones, joint pain, and a limited range of joint movement. In the most severe cases, the spine is completely rigid.” (Agency for Toxic Substance & Disease Registry, 2003)
Why would the U.S. Government recommend that levels of fluoride need be reduced if there is no potential for chronic health effects caused by elevated fluoride exposure? Because of course there is. Yes, fluoridated water is completely safe. I’m sorry if I’ve been mistaken for some kind of anti-fluoride nutter. I had no idea there were such people. But excessive levels of Fluoride can cause acute and chronic problems, beyond just “staining of teeth”. Acute Fluoride toxicity has caused polyuric renal failure and even death (Smith FA. Fluoride toxicity. New York: Handbook of Hazardous Materials; 2012. pp. 277–283.

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Originally Posted by RitterSport View Post
First of all, the OP didn't ask about the risk of over-fluoridation, but whether there's evidence that fluoride has medical benefits. Do you agree that the answer to that is yes? Your answer was basically off-topic, since everything that has medical or health benefits will be dangerous if levels get too high.
I agree with all of this. Yes it has obvious and important medical benefits, and you’re right that the second part of my response was off-topic. I guess I initially mistook his question for something else. I figured that both the medical benefits and safety of therapeutic doses and the potential dangers of over-exposure were simple facts that weren’t up for debate. I’m sorry if my post was taken for something else.
Quote:
Second, I looked at the cites and the first was a cite to a paper published by themselves and the second was to a veterinary paper. I didn't bother looking any further.
To be fair, the third cite is from The National Research Council. It is a 2006 study which reviewed ten years of research on “various health effects from exposure to fluoride”. It explains, “ Fluoride pollution from various industrial emissions can also contaminate water supplies. In a few areas of the United States fluoride concentrations in water are much higher than normal, mostly from natural sources. Fluoride is one of the drinking water contaminants regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because it can occur at these toxic levels. In 1986, the EPA established a maximum allowable concentration for fluoride in drinking water of 4 milligrams per liter, a guideline designed to prevent the public from being exposed to harmful levels of fluoride. (emphasis added).
  #37  
Old 08-12-2019, 06:19 PM
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I never said fluoridated water was unsafe. I merely pointed out that there are studies (legitimate studies) exploring the dangers of high-level exposure to fluoride.
Earlier you said:
Quote:
As for fluoride, there have been plenty of studies showing that increased sources of fluoride over the past decades have elevated our exposure to potentially harmful levels.
Forgive me for assuming you were referring to water fluoridation.
Quote:
So, you’re saying that people have been getting fluoride from more sources? You’re saying that because of this increased exposure to fluoride from multiple sources, the U.S. Government has stepped in and recommended a lower level of fluoride in municipal drinking water? How exactly is that statement any different than, “there have been plenty of studies showing that increased sources of fluoride over the past decades have elevated our exposure to potentially harmful levels.”
If your idea of "harmful levels" is potential risk of stained teeth (mild to inapparent in most cases) then yeah, there's possible "harm" that the government recommendation for lower levels in tap water was intended to mitigate. But this doesn't involve"very large amounts of fluorides". Municipal water fluoridation (or to my knowledge naturally elevated fluoride levels in tap water) has not been linked to symptomatic skeletal fluorosis.

I think you may be confused about the difference between toxic factory effluents and fluoride at a low concentration used to treat water supplies and for dental treatments. There's a well-known principle that "the dose makes the poison".
Quote:
I’m sorry if I’ve been mistaken for some kind of anti-fluoride nutter. I had no idea there were such people.
I sympathize with your shock and dismay.

Last edited by Jackmannii; 08-12-2019 at 06:23 PM.
  #38  
Old 08-13-2019, 01:31 AM
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I think you may be confused about the difference between toxic factory effluents and fluoride at a low concentration used to treat water supplies and for dental treatments.
No. I'm not confused about the difference at all. You're projecting that on me. Had I known Fluoride was such a charged topic, I would have chosen my words more carefully, or probably have just not posted. I didn't know dental floss and fluoride were so controversial. My god.

Had the OP asked a question like, "Here's a study showing that too much bread is unhealthy. Are there similar studies on water?" I would have probably said, "Yes, there are plenty of studies showing the harmful effects of drinking too much water. There's a bunch of such studies in the bibliography of this pamphlet here"

Then everyone would say, "That is a horrible source. It comes from an anti-water wackjob conspiracy organization" and "There's no danger from drinking normal amounts of water!".
Then I have to point out that I was merely providing a convenient list of studies about Hyponatremia, water intoxication, etc.
Then all hell breaks loose.

Quote:
Forgive me for assuming you were referring to water fluoridation
Strange that you would assume that when I never even mentioned water. Hell, when I think of "fluoride", my first thought is "toothpaste", but whatever.

Quote:
I sympathize with your shock and dismay.
And I, yours.
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:40 AM
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If your idea of "harmful levels" is potential risk of stained teeth (mild to inapparent in most cases) then yeah, there's possible "harm" that the government recommendation for lower levels in tap water was intended to mitigate. But this doesn't involve"very large amounts of fluorides". Municipal water fluoridation (or to my knowledge naturally elevated fluoride levels in tap water) has not been linked to symptomatic skeletal fluorosis.
My idea of "harmful levels" is no different than the EPA's. That's the exact language used by the agency. I quoted a passage from The National Research Council above. "Fluoride is one of the drinking water contaminants regulated by the U.S. Environmental protection Agency (EPA) because it can occur at these toxic levels. In 1986, the EPA established a maximum allowable concentration for fluoride in drinking water of 4 milligrams per liter, a guideline designed to prevent the public from being exposed to harmful levels of fluoride."
Toxic levels of fluoride can occur, and are more likely to occur due to increased sources of contamination and exposure over the last few decades. The government has an interest in preventing the public from being exposed to "harmful levels of fluoride". If anyone is redefining "harmful" to mean something else, it's you, not me.
It seems like there might be zealots on both sides of the fluoride debate. I had no idea such a simple, factual statement would be met with such fervor.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno
It seems like there might be zealots on both sides of the fluoride debate.
On the one hand, there are science-based advocates of a health intervention with proven benefits and safety.

There's also a loud minority of alarmists and conspiracy theorists trumpeting non-hazards in an attempt to scare people.

If both groups strike you as contemptible "zealots", your perspective is awry.*

*do tell us where there's been an outbreak of arthritis due to "skeletal fluorosis" from fluoridated drinking water.
  #41  
Old 08-13-2019, 11:56 AM
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*do tell us where there's been an outbreak of arthritis due to "skeletal fluorosis" from fluoridated drinking water.
Again with the drinking water!? FFS, Jack, I never said anything about drinking water! You're shadow boxing against your own strawmen here. I've never said anything at all disparaging about the proven health benefits or safety of water fluoridation. You claim there is a loud minority of alarmists trumpeting its dangers, but where are they? Who are they? They're certainly not in this thread. There's just you, arguing against things that were never said. So, from my perspective, there are zero people saying that water fluoridation is dangerous, and there is you, continuing to argue in defense of something that shouldn't even require defending. Keep fighting the good fight, though
You've shown great zeal in your efforts. I commend you. You'll be ready when one of those alarmists or conspiracy theorists show up. Though, I predict they never will.
In fact, I am betting we will see another post from you reassuring us about the safety of fluoride in drinking water before we see anything from that loud minority you're fighting against.
  #42  
Old 08-13-2019, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Beaar_Nenno
I merely informed the OP that there are plenty of studies conducted on the use of Flouride which warn of its overuse.
Then do inform us where in the U.S.* this mysterious "overuse" of fluoride is occurring and document the alleged health consequences.

*next we'll get "I never said anything about the U.S.!". O.K., then where are these dreadful things happening? Ulan Bator?
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:34 PM
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My dentist has me using a prescription high fluoride toothpaste.

I have a couple shallow spots of decay that aren't bad enough for a filling. Dentist told me high fluoride can sometimes reverse early decay. That's why he has me using the special toothpaste.

I haven't seen the research. But following my dentists advice makes sense to me.

Last edited by aceplace57; 08-13-2019 at 12:35 PM.
  #44  
Old 08-13-2019, 12:58 PM
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Yes, there are other fluoride treatments to improve dental health besides water fluoridation, which is far and away the best-known application.

I may be again going out on a limb here, but I'm going to guess that when Bear_Nenno linked to a website (of the IOAMT) discussing alleged fluoride hazards, he might just possibly have noticed this header at the top of the page:

"In summary, given the elevated number of fluoride sources and the increased rates of fluoride intake in the American population, which have risen substantially since water fluoridation began in the 1940’s, it has become a necessity to reduce and work toward eliminating avoidable sources of fluoride exposure, including water fluoridation, fluoride containing dental materials, and other fluoridated products."

The group is heavily into "biological dentistry" which means opposing water fluoridation (they also view amalgam fillings as "poison" and support their removal for highly dubious health reasons):

https://iaomt.org/top-ten-reasons-op...-fluoridation/

Forgive me for assuming that someone who cites the IOAMT might just possibly be aware that water fluoridation is an issue for some and that there are activists opposing it with bad science and fearmongering.

Last edited by Jackmannii; 08-13-2019 at 12:58 PM.
  #45  
Old 08-13-2019, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Jackmannii
Then do inform us where in the U.S.* this mysterious "overuse" of fluoride is occurring and document the alleged health consequences.
Ask the EPA, man. They're the ones who claimed " In a few areas of the United States fluoride concentrations in water are much higher than normal, mostly from natural sources. Fluoride is one of the drinking water contaminants regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because it can occur at these toxic levels." Does that statement upset you? Ask them where these areas are. You're the one who is so passionate about fluoride. I personally don't care where these areas are. But that doesn't mean they don't exist. You're really grinding that ax on this one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackmannii
Forgive me for assuming that someone who cites the IOAMT might just possibly be aware that water fluoridation is an issue for some and that there are activists opposing it with bad science and fearmongering.
You are forgiven. And for the sake of ending this hijack, and because I've grown tired of this futile effort to explain myself to you. You obviously care a great deal about fluoride. I'm sorry I've offended you. I was not citing the IOAMT for anything, nor did I read that pamphlet or even care what it had to say. I made no comment on any opinion or conclusion that the pamphlet may have reached. That was not the point of the link I provided. If you would please reread my original post, and read it without projecting some kind of crazy agenda on my part, you will see that I was merely directing the OP to a [i]list]/i] of studies "showing that increased sources of fluoride over the past decades have elevated our exposure to potentially harmful levels." That's it man. "Dangerous". "Hazardous", etc. Those are your words, not mine. I said "harmful" which is the same word used by the EPA. You're attacking me as if I said, "Water fluoridation is dangerous, and here is a cite from the IOAMT to back up my statement". That is absolutely not what I said. I've already apologized for any such implication. I've also apologized for being off-topic. The bibliography on that IOAMT "fact sheet" had many scientific studies that I thought the OP was asking about. I did not intend to endorse or refute any conclusion or opinion that the fact sheet itself had reached. I only meant to provide the OP with a list of studies. Before posting, I looked at the list and checked several of the studies from .gov or other reputable sites. The first one I check, (the third on the list) stated, “Fluoride pollution from various industrial emissions can also contaminate water supplies. In a few areas of the United States fluoride concentrations in water are much higher than normal, mostly from natural sources. Fluoride is one of the drinking water contaminants regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because it can occur at these toxic levels. In 1986, the EPA established a maximum allowable concentration for fluoride in drinking water of 4 milligrams per liter, a guideline designed to prevent the public from being exposed to harmful levels of fluoride." I checked a few others that studied the rising rates of exposure of the past several years and others that studied the affects of fluoride toxicity. I felt like this was a comprehensive list of the types of studies the OP was asking about, so I pointed him to it to do his own reading. Most of the studies talked about contamination from natural sources, from industrial applications, and from incidents like children eating toothpaste like its candy. I didn't mean to imply anything about water fluoridation or anything of the sort. I was simply saying, "sure, here's a list of studies you'd be interested in". RitterSport already pointed out how the OP was actually asking about studies showing that fluoride had no medical benefit, not that fluoride can be harmful at particularly high levels. RitterSport was right, and I admitted that my reply was off-topic and apologized for any anti-fluoride statements inferred by my post.
I really don't know what more you want from me. I was unaware of the IOAMT or of any anti-fluoride agenda. I now regret using the bibliography in their pamphlet as a convenient sample of studies that I thought were relevant and interesting to the OP and germane to the discussion.
There are plenty of studies on the dangers of artificial sweeteners as well. If someone were to ask if there had been any studies on the dangers of aspartame, I would have posted something similar along the lines of, "sure, and here is a long list of them". That wouldn't mean that I think it's dangerous, or really give two shits either way. If I'm referencing a bibliography, and not the paper itself or its conclusion, then I wouldn't expect people to think I necessarily agree with the pamphlet, but rather, I just found a long list of relevant studies, conveniently compiled by an irrelevant organization. It's the studies I thought were relevant.
Anyway, I think I've rambled enough. I really need to end this hijack. I'm not sure how many different ways I can say that I don't think water fluoridation is a bad thing. If it helps you to think that you've crushed an anti-fluoride uprising, then that's fine. Good work!
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:56 PM
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I think you would have been better off actually linking to the cites that you think are valid rather than a scare-piece from an actual anti-fluoride crackpot group. I'm sure you're all on board with reasonable water fluoridation and fluoride toothpaste, but the group you cited is not.

I don't know why you think Jackmannii is some pro-fluoride nut -- he hasn't come across that way to me in this thread. Your link to those crackpots may have set him off -- they certainly set me off.

Anyway, the answer to the OP is, yes, fluoride has proven dental health benefits.
  #47  
Old 08-13-2019, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
My idea of "harmful levels" is no different than the EPA's. That's the exact language used by the agency. I quoted a passage from The National Research Council above. "Fluoride is one of the drinking water contaminants regulated by the U.S. Environmental protection Agency (EPA) because it can occur at these toxic levels. In 1986, the EPA established a maximum allowable concentration for fluoride in drinking water of 4 milligrams per liter, a guideline designed to prevent the public from being exposed to harmful levels of fluoride."
Toxic levels of fluoride can occur, and are more likely to occur due to increased sources of contamination and exposure over the last few decades. The government has an interest in preventing the public from being exposed to "harmful levels of fluoride". If anyone is redefining "harmful" to mean something else, it's you, not me.
It seems like there might be zealots on both sides of the fluoride debate. I had no idea such a simple, factual statement would be met with such fervor.
"more likely to occur due to increased sources of contamination and exposure" is not a simple, factual statement when your source states "In a few areas of the United States fluoride concentrations in water are much higher than normal, mostly from natural sources".

You contributed a scare sheet from a quack organization and then went hunting for support for that quack organization's agenda. The question here isn't whether excessive fluoride intake is problematic, it's whether excessive intake is a pervasive issue.
  #48  
Old 08-13-2019, 04:17 PM
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There are plenty of studies on the dangers of artificial sweeteners as well. If someone were to ask if there had been any studies on the dangers of aspartame, I would have posted something similar along the lines of, "sure, and here is a long list of them". That wouldn't mean that I think it's dangerous, or really give two shits either way.
Regardless of the "controversial" subject involved, whether it's fluoridation, aspartame, vaccines, genetically modified foods or whatever, if someone says "sure, there are a lot of studies showing it's dangerous" and links to quacky websites containing a cherry-picked list of them, it's going to look like an endorsement of that point of view.

If that wasn't obvious to you before, it should be now.
  #49  
Old 08-19-2019, 03:07 PM
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New from JAMA Pediatrics: Association Between Maternal Fluoride Exposure During Pregnancy and IQ Scores in Offspring in Canada
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CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE In this study, maternal exposure to higher levels of fluoride during pregnancy was associated with lower IQ scores in children aged 3 to 4 years. These findings indicate the possible need to reduce fluoride intake during pregnancy.
  #50  
Old 08-19-2019, 03:34 PM
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I only read the abstract, and the thing that immediately stands out is that they only found an effect on boys, not girls. When they combine girls and boys, then the effect comes back, but that can be due to the size of the effect in boys being large enough to statistically swamp the lack of effect in girls.

Girls and boys are different, and I have no idea how fluoride might lower IQ, so it might make sense to see a sex difference, but that is something to me that is a red flag for multiple testing problems, or just spurious findings.

Again, I only read the abstract, so maybe this is all addressed in the article. It is stated that the subjects with fluoride in their water are urban, and the non-fluoride subjects are rural. It is possible that fluoride is just a proxy for something else which differs between urban and rural environments, such as pollution.

Mostly what I'm saying is that if I were a reviewer on this paper I would have read the whole thing more carefully instead of just skimming the abstract, but those are the things I would have been thinking about while reading it after reading the abstract.

Oh, and Fotheringay-Phipps thanks for posting a link to the actual paper, instead of to some wire service article on some newspaper's website that doesn't mention the study authors, and maybe, if we're lucky, mentions the journal it was published in.
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