In news that will delight those of us who hate getting guilt-tripped by dentists (especially the lion-killing variety), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has rescinded its recommendation, in place since 1979, that Americans use dental floss daily.
The Associated Press did a comprehensive study (linked above) of recent medical literature about flossing, and came to the conclusion that the practice is unnecessary — and potentially even harmful. The studies cited by the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology in their recommendation of the practice either “used outdated methods or tested few people,” according to the AP.
According to MarketSizeInfo.com, cited by the AP, the global flossing market is predicted to reach nearly $2 billion by 2017 with half of its business in the United States. But flossing manufacturers have been unable to conclusively prove that their product does any good — even though the industry funds most studies of the practice, sometimes even designing and conducting the research.
Beyond having little merit according to current science, flossing might even be harmful. According to the AP, improper flossing can “damage gums, teeth and dental work” and “dislodge bad bacteria that invade the bloodstream and cause dangerous infections”.
This does not mean, however, that flossing is definitely bad for you. All it says is that there isn’t enough scientific literature to support recommending the practice. Will the floss industry respond by backing up their claims? It remains to be seen.
What do you think? Will you change your flossing habits based on this info? Let us know in the comments below or @WhatsTrending on Twitter!