Study review finds little evidence that flossing actually helps

One of the things that we have had to do most of our lives is floss our teeth. The dentist says that this is something you have to do to keep gums and teeth healthy. The federal government even pushes for people to floss their teeth along with the American Dental Association. The catch is that according to the AP after looking at 25 different studies comparing various oral care regimes, it found that there was very little evidence that flossing your teeth actually helps with gum and tooth health.

The AP also notes that last year when the federal government issued its latest dietary guidelines; it had removed the recommendation for flossing your teeth. The AP's look at 25 different studied compared using a toothbrush alone to a combination of toothbrush and floss and found that the evidence for flossing is "weak, very unreliable" and of "very low" quality.

The AP also found that the evidence for flossing carries "a moderate to large potential for bias." One of the studies from 2011 did link flossing to a moderate reduction in gum inflammation. Gum inflammation for extended periods can sometimes lead to gum disease. Studies that supported flossing cited by the American Dental Association and the American Academy for Periodontology were found to have used outdated methods and too few people in the test pool. One of those studies lasted only two weeks, not long enough for a cavity or dental disease to develop.

Another study only followed people after a single use of floss. The AP says that when pressed spokesmen for the dental association have admitted that the evidence supporting flossing is weak, and one spokesman called Matthew J. Messina blamed study participants for not flossing correctly. One interesting note is that the American Dental Association partners with floss companies via a Seal of Acceptance program that charges floss makers $14,500 for the evaluation and if the product is approved, the annual fee to use the seal is $3,500.