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To floss or not to floss

18 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 20 February 2013

Flossing is widely recommended, but for those of us who do not floss, we might take comfort from an increasing number of dentists who believe it is not the best way to prevent tooth decay or gum disease. Tooth decay is caused when bacteria in the mouth digest sugar, producing acid which eats away at the teeth. Gum disease on the other hand, is caused by a film of bacteria on the teeth known as plaque which irritates the gums. So does flossing make any difference? Dr Nigel Carter is chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation and Dr Ellie Phillips is a dentist in the US and author of Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye.

New research from Canada has found that lesbians, gays and bisexuals see health benefits when they are open about their sexuality. Published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, the team found that if lesbians, gays and bisexuals came out of the closet they had lower levels of psychiatric symptoms and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the mornings. Andreas Wismeijer, Associate Professor at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, tells Health Check what he makes of the study and about his own extensive research on secrets.

Health myth
Is it true that if you shave the hair grows back thicker and more stubbly? Trichology Consultant Dr John Gray provides a very firm answer.


3 items
  • Flossing

    Does it help prevent tooth cavities and gum disease?

  • Sharing secrets

    Why revealing your secrets might be good for your physical and mental health

  • Health myth

    Does shaving encourage hair growth?


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