Even though dental flossing has steadily morphed into a $2 billion annual business worldwide, with nearly half of that sum being spent by the U.S. alone, an Associated Press review found that there aren’t any solid study to back the practice’s acclaimed medical benefits.
What’s more concerning, is that U.S. health authorities no longer recommended that Americans floss their teeth daily this year.
- AP investigators found that there are no studies out there to prove without trace of doubt that flossing staves off gum disease, plaque formation and dental cavities, as oral hygiene commercials often suggest.
- The AP review also revealed that the studies invoked by high-profile institutions such as the American Dental Association (ADA) to promote the practice were either based on outdated methods, had few participants etc.
We now hope that more money will be poured into research so maybe we’ll finally have access to a comprehensive study that can tell whether flossing is good for our teeth or not.
For the moment, the AP report will make people who don’t floss feel less guilty about it. But don’t expect flossing fans including medical professionals that have touted the benefits of the practice for years to ditch their daily habit overnight.
Nevertheless, the report may sound the alarm for the dental flossing industry, which got some unexpected help Tuesday from ADA and the American Academy of Periodontology, both of which said that they continue to back daily flossing.
AP researchers also found that even among those who dutifully floss their teeth every day there are many people who do not floss properly. Experts recommend an up and down movement, rather than a sawing one.
The ADA acknowledged that flossing or using other dental cleaning methods is a personal choice just like a healthy lifestyle, but people need to understand how to clean their teeth properly. The association recommends paying your dentist a visit to learn more about flossing and oral hygiene in general. You may be amazed.
The federal government has backed dental flossing ever since the late 1970s, but in the latest version of Dietary Guidelines, the practice was no more included as a daily-must-do. Critics believe that this may have something to do with the requirement for recommendations in the guideline to have scientific support.
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