May 25, 2023

The Dentist: Toss the Floss? Flush the Brush?

by Science Vs

Background show artwork for Science Vs

The dentist tells us to floss, brush, avoid certain food and drinks ... but what actually matters when it comes to having healthy teeth? We're drilling into the science on all of it. Plus, we go undercover to find out how many dentists are trying to upsell you when you go in for a checkup. We talk to epidemiologist and dentist Professor Philippe Hujoel, dentist Dr. Alisha Virmani, and economist Dr. Felix Gottschalk. 

Find our transcript here: 

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In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Chapter 1: Oral hygiene is confusing

(02:08) Chapter 2: Do flossing and tooth brushing prevent cavities?

(11:07) Chapter 3: Flossing: Good for the gums?

(16:42) Chapter 4: Does seltzer mess up our teeth? What about other food and drink?

(22:26) Chapter 5: How dodgy are dentists?


This episode was produced by Meryl Horn, with help from Wendy Zukerman, R.E. Natowicz, Rose Rimler, Michelle Dang and Joel Werner, We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Gimlet’s managing director is Nicole Beemsterboer. Fact checking by Erica Akiko Howard. Mix and sound design by Bobby Lord. Music written by Bobby Lord, Emma Munger, So Wiley, Peter Leonard, and Bumi Hidaka. Thanks to all the researchers we spoke to including Dr. Joshua Emrick, Dr. Arosha Weerakoon, Professor Stephen Peckham, Professor Marie Bismark, Professor Steven Levy, Dr. Abdul Ghoneim, Dr. David Okano, Professor Christof Dörfer, and Dr. Patrick Fee. Special thanks to Chris Suter, the Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.

Science Vs is a Spotify Original Podcast and a Gimlet production. Follow Science Vs on Spotify, and if you want to get notifications every time we put out a new episode, tap the bell icon in your app.