Growing up, we all heard (from parents, dentists, or both) that flossing is essential; floss every day for gum and mouth health, right? Not many people floss on a daily basis, despite the recommendations, but it was preached none the less.
However, a new study has just come out from the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services saying it may not be necessary after all. It was even taken off of the federal government’s recommendation list (where it stood since 1979).
Many news outlets have been reporting that the benefits of flossing have been debunked (The flossing story is a myth, etc.). While this is what the new findings seem to suggest, this is not entirely accurate.
Much of the research done in the past has been small sample sizes, short testing periods, or both. This led to faulty data that showed no statistically significant flossing benefits. This, basically, is the science way of saying “we don’t really know one way or the other.”
So yes, while the evidence has been called weak, many dentists still argue that flossing should be kept in regular practice.
“It’s low risk, low cost. We know there’s a possibility that it works, so we feel comfortable telling people to go ahead and do it,” National Institutes of Health dentist Tim Iafolla said.
According to the American Dental Association, “one of the ADA oral hygiene recommendations is for people to clean between their teeth once a day, meaning that they should engage in daily, mechanical interdental cleaning.” (AKA flossing).
So even though flossing is no longer formally recommended by the federal government, many if not all dentists still recognize it as an essential part of a healthy oral hygienic routine.
Again, I am not a dentist, but flossing really just seems like a good thing to do. It is undeniable that food gets stuck between teeth and can stay there for days without flossing. (Think popcorn, corn on the cob, chips, gummy candy, etc.).
It may take a few extra minutes a day, but flossing should be a part of your daily routine, no matter what the federal government’s new (faulty) data shows.
Also, if Beyonce does it, you probably should too.
Thanks for reading, friends!