- Feb 26, 2015
No strong proof that flossing your teeth has medical benefit
Flossing might not actually do anything.
Yeah. Let that sink in. Think back over all the years you lied guiltily to your dentist about how you definitely wiggle thin little strands of thread between your teeth every night in the name of preventing cavities and gum disease. And let the sweet, sweet vindication flow in. (Alternatively, if you are a professed flosser, despair).
Apparently the federal government has recommended Americans floss their teeth since 1979, but when recently asked by The Associated Press to provide the scientific evidence of flossing's benefits, the government quietly slipped the recommendation out of its latest dietary guidelines. When AP followed up, the government confessed that the effectiveness of flossing hasn't actually been researched to the extent that is required.
The AP looked at the most rigorous research conducted over the past decade, focusing on 25 studies that generally compared the use of a toothbrush with the combination of toothbrushes and floss.
The findings? The evidence for flossing is "weak, very unreliable," of "very low" quality, and carries "a moderate to large potential for bias."
"The majority of available studies fail to demonstrate that flossing is generally effective in plaque removal," said one review conducted last year. Another 2015 review cites "inconsistent/weak evidence" for flossing and a "lack of