December Update: Combating Online Misinformation

At the moment, there’s nothing particularly interesting to report for the manufacturing side of Instafloss. Which is good news! Things are going according to plan. We’re starting to validate parts from the new molds, and we’re still set for an early Q1 delivery.

This however, does not mean that we don’t have something interesting to share. Instafloss may be a small company, but we’re always hard at work furthering our goal of a healthier future. One of the hardest battles we’ve been fighting towards that goal is combating medical misinformation online.

Recently we had a big win on this front and wanted to both celebrate this with our supporters as well as give you a look at some of the efforts we’ve been going through on this front.


Our Efforts to Stop Misinformation in the Dental Industry

We need to talk about the problem first. The dental space is unfortunately plagued by no shortage of bad information. Dubious at-home remedies and false claims about safety and efficacy of procedures or products make it hard for the average person to find evidence-based, accurate information.

Our team has been working to change this by staying up-to-date on the latest research and developments within the field, and carefully fact-checking any information that we come across. We work closely with dental professionals, including members on the board of the ADA, to ensure that the information that we share is accurate and reliable.

In addition, when we find incorrect information we make every effort to help the publisher correct it or remove it when possible. 

Now that you know the problem, and what we’ve been doing, let’s take a look at a specific example and big win.


A Big Win to Celebrate

There was a Mayo Clinic article that claimed water flossing was ineffective, despite 50 years' worth of studies showing that it is effective, often more so than string. That article had four citations — three of which were to studies that found water flossing to be effective, and the fourth was the author recursively citing the very article he was currently writing! It's as if he never thought anyone would check his sources. This is to be expected in a middle school paper, but from the Mayo Clinic?

Here’s where we celebrate. Our team reached out to Mayo Clinic and informed them of the article’s misinformation and incorrect citation. Now, Mayo Clinic has replaced the article with a newly authored piece which better represents the science on water flossing’s effectiveness.


Still Work to be Done

Unfortunately, it’s not all good news. Many other pop-medical blogs out there (e.g. WebMD) still have articles up which cite the now replaced Mayo Clinic article. This means there will still be plenty more outreach on our end to fix the ripple effect of the prior misinformation.

This is on top of the other efforts we’re going through to create more accurate discussion surrounding oral care habits. Some of these include going as far as lobbying federal agencies and using Freedom of Information Act requests, but we’ll save the details of that effort for another time.

For now, if you’re curious to read more on this subject, check out our article: “Water Flossing vs String Flossing: What Does the Science Say?” Otherwise we wish you the happiest of holidays this year!

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