Flossing verses Listerine | Delmarva Dental Services

Flossing verses Listerine

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Flossing was invented about 100 years ago by Johnson & Johnson. Listerine became available over the counter in 1914. In June 2004 there was an advertising campaign launched stating “Listerine’s as effective as floss at fighting plaque and gingivitis. Clinical studies prove it.” In January 2005 McNeil Inc, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson and the leading manufacturer of floss, argued that Listerine’s claims were false. They won a preliminary injunction halting Listerine’s advertisements. This has left many people confused regarding this issue.Pfizer’s claim was based on two studies of patients with mild to moderate gingivitis (early gum disease). In each study there was a brushing & flossing group, a brushing and Listerine group and a brushing & placebo rinse. The Listerine group did equal to or better than the brushing and flossing group in reducing plaque and gingivitis over a six-month period. However, the authors of the studies stated that the patients in the brushing and flossing group likely did not floss properly during the study. They cautioned that recommendations to floss daily should continue to be reinforced and that the tests results did not suggest that Listerine should be used instead of dental floss. McNeil argued that these studies were flawed and the claims were overbroad. So who is right? Actually, they both are. Listerine works better at reducing plaque and gingivitis than bad flossing. However it doesn’t work better than good flossing. Since 87% of people floss infrequently or not at all, Listerine would benefit them. Listerine has not been shown to prevent cavities or the more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis. Therefore, if you use Listerine and don’t floss you can still get cavities and lose your teeth. The most effective hygiene regimen would be brushing for 3 minutes, flossing effectively and using Listerine routinely.