How many times has your dentist reminded you to floss every day?
Turns out, he may be wrong when he tells you flossing is necessary for preventing gum disease and cavities.
Last year, the federal government removed the flossing recommendation from its dietary guidelines. According to CBS News, it began recommending flossing in 1979.
In a letter to the Associated Press, the government said new findings reveal the evidence for flossing is “weak, very unreliable” and has “a moderate to large potential for bias.”
While the American Dental Association and American Academy of Periodontology both cited studies that prove flossing prevents plaque buildup, CBS News reported those studies used outdated methods or didn’t last long enough for a cavity to develop.
However, the impact of flossing may be clearer in test groups containing people at high risk for gum disease, such as smokers and diabetics, according to American Academy of Periodontology president Wayne Aldredge.
He still encourages his patients to floss daily, telling them that failing to do so is “like building a house and not painting two sides of it. Ultimately, those two sides are going to rot away quicker.”
Despite the new research, National Institutes of Health dentist Tim Iafolla also recommends people floss their teeth.
“It’s low risk, low cost,” he told CBS News. “We know there’s a possibility that it works, so we feel comfortable telling people to go ahead and do it.”
If you do plan to continue flossing, make sure you’re doing it correctly! Use this video from the American Dental Association as your guide.
(H/T: CBS News)