If you’ve been berated for your poor dental hygiene simply because you don’t floss every day, you have reason to celebrate. A recent report that reviewed years of research found that there’s little evidence to support the benefits of flossing. So, the next time your girlfriend or boyfriend (just to avoid gender biases!) breaks into a diatribe about the benefits of flossing, you can flash your pearly whites and share this article with her/him!

Dental Hygiene: The Truth About Dental Floss

“Regular flossing is still listed as one of the key strategies for maintaining dental hygiene”

For years now, dental floss has been touted as an effective safeguard against dental disease, including conditions like cavities and gingivitis. Regular flossing is in fact still listed as one of the key strategies for maintaining dental hygiene, recommended by dentists and public health agencies alike. While it does pay to listen to your health care providers and government health advisories, in this instance you can gloat over your disregard for a standard dental hygiene practice!

“In some instances, studies were actually designed by floss companies themselves, showing a clear conflict of interest”

Findings Of An Investigative Reporter On The Benefits Of Flossing (If Any!)

Jeff Donn, an investigative reporter with Associated Press, decided to do a little digging, scouring through the medical literature and even filing an information request with the federal government for scientific evidence to support recommendations for flossing.

His team reviewed the findings of studies that have been published over the past decade, focusing primarily on 25 papers that examined the dental health of patients who used toothbrushes and floss, as opposed to those only brushing. They found that almost all of the studies that show any evidence of benefits of flossing were weak and unreliable, often with potential for bias. In some instances they found that studies were actually designed by floss companies themselves, showing a clear conflict of interest.

While flossing may not help promote oral hygiene, don’t be quick to dismiss all of the recommendations on dental care. Practices like gargling, using mouthwash, and brushing your teeth regularly are absolutely unavoidable if you want to protect those pearly whites.

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January 11, 2018

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