Dentists and other dental health experts have insisted that flossing one’s teeth is of utmost importance, even more crucial than brushing alone. However, a recent investigation by the Associated Press (AP) finds no evidence supporting this claim.
For many years, health experts explain that cleaning between the teeth with a dental floss removes the plaque that can cause cavities or gum disease. Brushing alone cannot achieve this, which is why flossing is such a crucial health routine.
In 2015, AP requested the US departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture to release evidence that flossing is effective. However, AP later received a response letter stating that the benefits of flossing have never been fully researched. Interestingly, the US government excluded dental flossing in the latest dietary guidelines despite recommending the use of dental floss for many years.
The AP analyzed 25 studies that investigated the consequences of flossing and brushing and brushing alone. Overall, these alleged benefits were very weak or unreliable to be accurate.
It turns out that the authorities based the use of dental floss on studies that only involved a small group of people for a short period. In fact, one study only recruited 25 individuals after a single use of dental floss. Moreover, the other investigations only observed harmless warning signs but did not check out cavities, gum disease and other critical warning signs.
Still, the American Dental Association insists that flossing is essential to dental health. In a statement released on August 2, they said that good oral health consists of brushing one’s teeth at least twice daily, regular dental visits and flossing at least once daily.
“Whether you use floss or another interdental cleaner is a personal preference, but it’s very important to understand the proper technique for each tool so that it is effective,” says the American Dental Association. “Patients should talk to their dentists about how to use interdental cleaners to ensure efficacy.”