Sorry Haters, But You Can’t Stop Flossing Your Teeth Just Yet

The news made the rounds Tuesday, causing nothing short of a media uproar. Everyone from the Department of Health and Human Services to the American Dental Association has recommended daily flossing to prevent plaque buildup, gum disease and cavities, but according to the AP, these claims have been based on research with major flaws, such as outdated testing methods and all-too-brief study lengths.

But dental professionals say it’s not quite time to ditch the floss. A lack of good research doesn’t prove something is ineffective ― just that it hasn’t been a priority for research funding.

What the AP investigation found

When the AP requested evidence to support flossing from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agencies were unable to provide data. What’s more, in the agencies’ updated national dietary guidelines, flossing had been quietly removed.

In a letter to the AP, the government acknowledged that the benefits of flossing had not been researched properly.

The AP report looked at five analyses of 25 studies in total that compare the use of a toothbrush with the combined use of a toothbrush and floss. The reviews found that evidence supporting the health benefits of flossing is “very unreliable” and of “very low” quality. Other studies cited by the American Dental Association and American Academy of Periodontology as proof of the benefits of flossing used outdated testing methods, lasted for too short a time, or studied too few people to be deemed reliable.

“If you use your toothbrush with floss, it’s not more effective than tooth brushing alone,” said Fridus Van Der Weijden, a University of Amsterdam dental school professor who focuses on the prevention of periodontal infections and co-authored two of the five reviews of flossing research, in the video above…

Read More at the Huffington Post


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