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Effectiveness of the GumChucks flossing system compared to string floss for interdental plaque removal in children: a randomized clinical trial.


Flossing, an important oral hygiene skill, is technique-sensitive and challenging for children with developing manual dexterity. GumChucks is a novel flossing device designed to assist children with proper flossing technique. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of the GumChucks flossing device compared to string floss (SF). We conducted a randomized trial with 40 children aged 4-15 years at the UCLA Children's Dental Center from January- April 2017. Participants were randomly assigned to either GumChucks or SF. Interdental plaque score (IPS) and gingival index (GI) were recorded at baseline and 4-week post-usage. Flossing speed and interdental plaque reduction were also determined immediately after first use. In addition, questionnaires were completed by children, parents and dentists. Overall, children flossed significantly faster (p < 0.001) and achieved greater IPS reduction after first use (47.0% vs. 26.8%) with GumChucks compared to SF. After 4-week post-usage, children ages 10-15 in the GumChucks group demonstrated significantly greater improvement in GI and IPS from baseline (p < 0.01) and greater efficacy in interdental plaque removal compared to the SF group (p < 0.01). Children ages 4-9 flossed more effectively (p < 0.01) with GumChucks after first use, but no significant IPS and GI improvement after 4-week post-usage. Children preferred GumChucks (92.5%) over SF, with a similar positive attitude reported by parents and dentists. GumChucks is an effective alternative interdental plaque removal aid that allows children to floss with greater speed and efficacy, with recommended parental supervision for children under age 10.

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