For years dentists have told patients that they have to use dental floss as part of their routine when taking care of their teeth. In fact, it is one of the most universal recommendations in the medical field, and yet it would appear that there is little proof that there are any true benefits to actually flossing one’s teeth, because there is very little research that has been done to prove its effectiveness.
Since 1979, the federal government has included the use of dental floss as part of the health recommendation guidelines, according to News 6. However, there seems to be little proof that flossing actually prevents cavities or gum disease, as has long been believed.
For decades, the manufacturers of dental floss, dental organizations, dentists, and the federal government have been pushing the practice of flossing at least once per day according to the AP. Even the American Dental Association has it on their website that flossing is an essential part of taking care of one’s teeth and gums.
In order to be a part of the Dietary Guidelines, however, there needs to be research and studies in order to prove that it is in fact based on scientific evidence. This need for scientific evidence is not just a recommendation, but a law.
According to CNBC News, in 2015, the AP asked for evidence of dental floss’ effectiveness from the departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture. They then followed that request up with a written one “under the Freedom of Information Act.”
This year, the federal government released its latest dietary guidelines and for the first time since 1979, the recommendation to use dental floss was removed from the list. All of this was done without warning or notice.The government did, however, send a letter to the AP in which they acknowledged that they had never actually researched the effectiveness of flossing as has been required by law.
Besides requesting evidence of dental floss’ effectiveness, the organization did their own research and looked at 25 studies that compared the use of a toothbrush and floss with just using a toothbrush. The evidence from those studies all showed that flossing one’s teeth is actually, weak and unreliable. In essence, all the studies done to this point have shown little evidence that that flossing is demonstrating an ability to be effective in removing plaque. While flossing may have been removed from the dietary guidelines, dentists still recommend using dental floss on a daily basis to help protect teeth, even if it is not as effective as previously believed. For more CDA News, follow our tweets on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
By Dorothea James