Association between dental floss use and gingival conditions in orthodontic patients

Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2011 Dec;140(6):812-21. doi: 10.1016/j.ajodo.2011.06.028.


Introduction: Evidence comparing periodontal conditions in orthodontic patients who regularly use or do not use dental floss is scarce.

Methods: The subjects were 330 patients who had been under fixed orthodontic treatment for at least 6 months. They were examined by 1 calibrated examiner for plaque and gingival indexes, probing pocket depths, clinical attachment losses, and excessive resin around brackets. Socioeconomic background, time with orthodontic appliances, and use of dental floss were assessed in interviews. Unadjusted and multiple logistic regression analyses were used to assess the associations.

Results: The results demonstrated statistically significant higher means of plaque index, gingival index, pocket probing depth, and clinical attachment loss for nonusers of dental floss. Intragroup analyses showed higher means of these parameters in proximal sites and posterior teeth, compared with their counterparts' buccal and lingual sites and anterior teeth, respectively. After multivariate analysis, male subjects (P = 0.044) with a household income less than 5 national minimum wages (P = 0.044), and nonusers of dental floss (P = 0.000) showed higher probabilities of gingival bleeding (>30%) than did their counterparts.

Conclusions: Orthodontic patients who use dental floss regularly have somewhat better gingival conditions than those who do not use floss.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Devices, Home Care*
  • Dental Plaque / etiology
  • Dental Plaque / prevention & control*
  • Dental Plaque Index
  • Female
  • Gingivitis / etiology
  • Gingivitis / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Orthodontic Appliances / adverse effects*
  • Periodontal Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult