Flossing and Cetylpyridinium Chloride

Hello Dr. Ellie,

I read your blog, stating that you don’t feel that flossing is beneficial.

Nevertheless, I have been flossing for many years (and my gums do not bleed when I floss) and a tooth with a large restoration becomes uncomfortable if I cease flossing for a few days.

I noticed that one of Procter&Gamble’s Oral-B “Glide” flosses boasts cetylpyridinium chloride http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cetylpyridinium_chloride .

Pursuant to your admonition against triclosan, I stopped using toothpaste that contains it (now I use only Crest Cavity Protection); but perhaps your blog may now care to also weigh in on cetylpyridinium chloride.


Hi N,

I so often get misquoted – or maybe I don’t write clearly enough yet!

Thanks for your message and let me try to state this again – more clearly if I can!

If food gets stuck – a length of string may be a good method of releasing food debris. Food debris is not per se the reason for dental decay. Bacteria create cavities – and bacteria are more difficult to remove because they are not only stuck to teeth, but also float in saliva and reside in the skin of your mouth.

My point about flossing is that when someone has cavities or if someone has gum disease, they need a different approach to clean teeth – one that works better and more completely than flossing. I worry that if gum disease is the concern, flossing may open up wounds and let awful bacteria into the blood stream – creating bigger general health problems.

The best way to eliminate bacteria in saliva and on teeth is to use xylitol ( which eliminates 98% of the bacteria that form plaque). The disappear from teeth, from the mouth and from saliva – all at the same time. Without plaque you will not get cavities between or in teeth – and you will not get gum infection ( which starts when poisons from anaerobic bacteria leach out of plaque). In this way xylitol can prevent cavities and gum disease.

If someone already has inflammation or gum disease, they need more help than xylitol alone. This is why I recommend a potpourri of mouth rinses – known as my Complete Mouth Care System. These rinses address different bacteria and different gum disease problems – each rinse has a specific purpose. They also work in this sequence to strengthen teeth and make them more resistant to mouth acidity – less likely to decay or erode.

If someone has healthy gums and wants to floss – no problem – and I suggest doing this before you begin the mouth rinse system. The floss I would recommend is floss with xylitol in it.


The point that I try to make is that if someone does not like to floss – they can still maintain a healthy mouth. I have tried to prove this myself – and have had salivary testing to show this works. Why is dentistry so wedded to the concept of flossing? Maybe the institution has a hard time believing that nature has provided a plant sugar that can melt plaque off teeth more effectively than chemicals or floss!

Hope this explains.


Categories: Uncategorized