Medical benefits of dental floss unproven

HOLMDEL, N.J. (AP) — It’s one of the most universal recommendations in all of public health: Floss daily to prevent gum disease and cavities.

Except there’s little proof that flossing works.

The federal government has recommended flossing since 1979. Last year, the Associated Press asked the departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture for their evidence.

When the federal government issued its latest guidelines this year, the flossing recommendation had been removed, without notice. In a letter to the AP, the government acknowledged the effectiveness of flossing had never been researched, as 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 studies found the evidence for flossing was “weak” and “very unreliable.”

Wayne Aldredge, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, acknowledges the weak scientific evidence. Still, he urges his patients to floss to help avoid gum disease.

WIVB.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s