Add up all the minutes of your life spent flossing your teeth, and think of everything you could have been doing instead. According to a new investigation by the Associated Press, there is no sufficient proof that flossing is actually beneficial—let alone worthy of a 15-minute lecture from your dentist every six months (or year) of your life.
Here’s what went down: The government and, by extension, dentists have been pushing flossing in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans since 1979. Under the law, all rules published in said guideline book must be based on scientific evidence. Last year, however, the AP asked to see that evidence and even followed up with requests under the Freedom of Information Act. The government finally responded, admitting that it had never researched the effectiveness of flossing in the first place. Cue media firestorm.
In lieu of any substantial government research, the AP decided to take it upon itself to investigate the benefits of flossing. Unsurprisingly, the combination of flossing and brushing your teeth offers little to no advantage over just brushing. Regardless, dentists are still sticking to their flossing guns.
“It’s low risk, low cost,” said National Institute of Health dentist Tim Lafolla of arguably the most detested hygienic routine known to man. “We know there’s a possibility that it works, so we feel comfortable telling people to go ahead and do it.”
Will you drop your flossing habit now that it’s not required? To be clear, brushing your teeth (for two minutes) twice a day is one that all dentists get behind. Shop this electronic toothbrush to stay on top of your dental health.