It’s common knowledge: good hygiene depends on daily brushing and flossing. In August, however, floss-haters got the news of the century when news broke that there was no scientific evidence to support flossing.
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After a letter from an apparently disgruntled Orthodontist, The Associated Press looked into why flossing was such a cornerstone of our oral hygiene. The AP learned that the practice is even embedded into the government’s own literature (such as Dietary Guidelines for Americans), meaning -by federal law – there has to be scientific support to put into such guidelines. When the AP asked the Guideline committee for the required evidence about floss and it’s effectiveness, the committee responded instead by dropping flossing from it’s recommendations.
That was only the begining of the controversy.
The American Dental Association eventually forced the Department of Health and Human Services, to concede, in a public statement, that “flossing is an important oral hygiene practice”. The Dental Association went on to amend the statement, by adding “a lack of strong evidence doesnt equate to a lack of effectiveness”
In the meantime, multiple dental professionals have been providing anecdotal evidence and non-peer previewed studies that suggest that flossing lowers the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
In the face of all the back and forth, Researchers and Scientists are knee-deep in rigourous research and studies. In all the years mankind has spent studying space, the stars, the atoms, and the body, apparently we forgot to find out if flossing even works.
There’s 99 more stories from 2016. Check out the Best of 2016 series here