Flossing everyday is one of the most common public health recommendations used to prevent gum disease and cavities, but there's little to no proof that it actually works.
In 2015 the Associated Press (AP) asked the departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture for their evidence on the effectiveness of flossing under the Freedom of Information Act.
The government responded with a letter to the AP, acknowledging that the benefits of flossing were never properly researched, as required, and eliminated flossing from this year's dietary guidelines.
But before you toss the floss, our very own expert still urges her patients to continue flossing as part of their dental care routine.
"Flossing helps massage the gums and circulate blood into the supporting structures," says Pooneh Ram, DDS and CEO of Dr. Brite. "It also removes hard to reach bacteria and helps prevent gum inflammation."
How to Floss Correctly:
- Use about 18 inches of floss wound around one of your middle fingers, with the rest wound around the opposite middle finger.
- Hold the floss tightly between the thumbs and forefingers and gently insert it between the teeth.
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape against the side of the tooth.
- Rub the floss gently up and down, keeping it pressed against the tooth.
- Floss all your teeth. Don’t forget to floss behind your back teeth.