Your dentist and dental hygienist tell you it's a good idea to floss, and often. They may be right -- but then again, maybe not.
Turns out the reported benefits of flossing are little more than conventional wisdom or folk remedy, according to the Associated Press.
After noting that the federal government’s health recommendations must have a scientific basis, the AP asked to see what that basis was for flossing. The recommendation disappeared from the guidelines shortly after, with an acknowledgement that the benefits of flossing had never been properly researched.
The AP went on to review what studies had been done on flossing, only to find all of them lacking. Studies either followed people for a short time or only followed a few people — neither of which would be enough to make a broad recommendation.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you should stop. Flossing incorrectly (with a sawing motion instead of the correct, up-and-down motion) can do harm, but in general flossing correctly might help — as billed — to prevent cavities and gum disease. A dentist from the National Institutes of Health said as much, noting that floss is relatively cheap and flossing might help when done correctly, so why not do it?
How regularly do you floss? Do you think it benefits you? Let us know in comments below or on our Facebook page.