Flossing necessity in question

Flossing your teeth is a suggestion that’s often given and often heard. Now, the Associated Press is putting that advice under the investigative microscope, questioning the science behind making it a federal guideline.

Last year, the AP asked the department of Health and Human Services for proof that flossing helps with overall dental hygiene. They followed that request with a written later stating their rights to the information under the “Freedom of Information Act.” After researching 25 separate cases they found the evidence weak and biased. So, while flossing probably doesn’t hurt there just wasn’t enough evidence for the feds to make it an official guideline.

This year when the federal government acknowledged that the effectiveness of flossing had never been researched as robustly as it should be, flossing was removed from the guidelines. Doctor Charles Brenner at Dentistry for Young People says he can’t speak about the AP’s research but he says he does know one thing –

“Toothbrushes can’t clean in between teeth,” said Dr. Brenner. “Brushing only cleans 80% of the bacteria out of your mouth the other 20% which is linked to gum disease can only be removed through flossing.”

When it comes to research Brenner says he and most dentists rely not on the Department of Health and Human Services or the Associate Press but rather the American Dental Association.

“Periodontal disease is a gum disease which is an infection. Just like infections else where in the body and these bacteria have been traced to infection in the heart and the source of the bug that caused this in the chest cavity have been identified as bacteria that started in the mouth,” said Dr. Brenner.

47 ABC took to the streets to ask people how often they floss and got an interesting combination of answers.

One ten year old girl admits she never thinks about flossing and almost never does it. Her mom on the other hand says she flosses a few times a month and believes flossing isn’t that important. Another woman tells 47 ABC she flosses everyday and has been doing so since she was a kid.

As one doctor with the National Institutes of Health says, there’s a possibility that flossing works so, they feel comfortable telling people to go ahead and do it.

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