Turns Out Flossing Is A Big Waste Of Time, Says Science
I feel like I’ve been lied to my whole life.
For years, we’ve heard about the importance of flossing: Floss when you wake up, floss when you go to bed, floss after every meal. After all, if you don’t floss (at least a few times a day) you’ll get gum disease and your teeth will fall out….right?
Err, maybe not so much. According to a recent article by Catherine Saint Louis, health writer for The New York Times, it appears flossing might not be as important as we once thought. As Saint Louis reports, “the latest dietary guidelines for Americans, issued by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, quietly dropped any mention of flossing without notice.” In other words: flossing might not actually be so beneficial.
The Associated Press revealed earlier this week that “officials had never researched the effectiveness of regular flossing, as required, before cajoling Americans to do it.” Apparently, all the research “fell short” of typical standards because of technicalities in the methods: Either there weren’t enough participants in the experiments or researchers failed to observe results over a ‘significant’ amount of time. Whatever the case, any evidence in support of flossing is, more or less, unreliable.
Still, this doesn’t mean it’s time to abandon your days as a “flosser” — at least not yet. In her story, Saint Louis quotes one professor of restorative dentistry at UCLA who seems to believe that there is still good reason to floss, saying: “We’re confident that disturbing the bacteria in plaque with brushing and flossing is, indeed, beneficial.”
Personally, I’ll probably still floss. I mean, the way I see it, it can’t be hurting us (aside from those of us with sensitive gums) and it still might be helping us. I think I’ll be able to set aside an extra three minutes after brushing my teeth to floss, just in the off chance it’s beneficial. I will say: I find it rather remarkable that the good majority of us have flossed for decades and it’s taken this long to find out the whole thing might be one big hoax.
What’s next? Is broccoli secretly fattening?