Dr Paul Sherrard has hit out at reports today that flossing does not work.

He says in his 30 years working as a dentist he sees patients on a daily basis who are benefiting from flossing.

“Every day we see evidence of less bleeding of gums and pocketing (spacing between gum and tooth which indicates gum disease) in patients who floss.

“We even have patients who floss some teeth but not others for whatever reason, and it is the unflossed teeth which are showing signs of disease and will therefore be lost more quickly” said Dr Sherrard.

He explains that just examining and smelling the length of floss after use shows it has had some benefit- it can have a foul-smelling odour after being used to remove debris between teeth.

Dr Sherrard was hitting out at recent studies which claim there is weak evidence that flossing is effective in plaque removal and in reducing gingival (gum) inflammation.

In Britain the NHS recommends flossing, but the US government has recently removed advice to floss from its dietary guidelines, despite recommending the practice for almost 40 years.

But the US government did concede that the effectiveness of flossing over a long period had not been thoroughly investigated.

Dr Sherrard says flossing has particularly significant benefits for people more prone to gum disease, such as diabetics, smokers and implant patients, but stressed that patients must learn to floss correctly for it to be effective.

“That is why at Moreton Dental Care we remind every patient of the importance of flossing and demonstrate clearly how to do it,” added Dr Sherrard.

The British Dental Association states on its patient website that flossing helps “in the battle against tooth decay and gum disease”.