I have had numerous patients ask me about the importance of flossing after the Associated Press reported that the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services had dropped any mention of flossing. The report read “Feeling Guilty About Not Flossing? Maybe There’s No Need”
So why the news reports? The Associated Press reviewed 25 studies that compared the use of a toothbrush versus using a toothbrush and floss. When the Associated Press reviewed the research conducted over the last decade they found that the evidence was weak and unreliable.
Personally, I encourage you to floss. The reason that these studies have been limited is that these large scale clinical studies are complicated and extremely expensive to conduct. There are smaller studies that show that tooth brushing and flossing reduced gingivitis better than tooth brushing alone. These smaller research trials do support flossing. While the large scale studies are lacking, flossing can help remove plaque and bacteria and should continue to be a part of your preventative routine.