I have to admit that I have never looked forward to going to the dentist.
I recently read a long article in this month’s The Atlantic, “The Truth About Dentistry,” by Ferris Jabr. The author looks at a disturbing case of how one dentist cheated his patients over many years, performing unnecessary procedures, and investigates how that kind of fraud could occur in the first place. Jabr concludes that, while most dentists do a good job for their patients, there is not nearly the same kind of focus on evidence based medicine in dentistry as there is in the medical field more generally, and he traces the history to give some plausible explanations as to how and why that’s the case.
More practically, Jabr also cites dentists as increasingly agreeing that, for a person with good oral hygiene, you may only need a check-up every 12 to 16 months, not twice a year as most of us learned years ago.
Less fortunately, the article did not examine the claim that regular flossing can protect you from developing heart disease, a claim that had some favor in the recent past, but appears to have less support in the scientific literature; the link, if it exists, for now is weak or inconclusive.
Here is a link to the article: