I know that health sciences are always being updated and yadda yadda, but what the hell?
The AP looked at the most rigorous research conducted over the past decade, focusing on 25 studies that generally compared the use of a toothbrush with the combination of toothbrushes and floss. The findings? The evidence for flossing is “weak, very unreliable,” of “very low” quality, and carries “a moderate to large potential for bias.”
“The majority of available studies fail to demonstrate that flossing is generally effective in plaque removal,” said one review conducted last year. Another 2015 review cites “inconsistent/weak evidence” for flossing and a “lack of efficacy.”
One study review in 2011 did credit floss with a slight reduction in gum inflammation — which can sometimes develop over time into full-fledged gum disease. However, the reviewers ranked the evidence as “very unreliable.” A commentary in a dental magazine stated that any benefit would be so minute it might not be noticed by users.
The benefits of flossing seem so transparent to me that I find it difficult to believe that there’s no science to back it up. I mean, when I floss and white gunk comes out, is it just as well that it stay resting there in my gums? That doesn’t seem right, especially when it can sometimes cause inflammation.
There’s also the blood thing. You floss irregularly, you bleed. Floss regularly, you don’t. Blood and no blood seems like one of those cases where one of those things is better than the other.
There is this, however:
Aldredge also said many people use floss incorrectly, moving it in a sawing motion instead of up and down the sides of the teeth. Pressed about the origins of his organization’s endorsement of flossing, he said it may simply have “taken the ADA’s lead.”
Who doesn’t floss up and down the teeth? That’s where you get the white stuff.
So if that’s the issue, I’m no longer confused about the evidence and more confused about a nation of people who don’t know how to floss regularly.
Whatever, I’m going to keep flossing because what can it hurt?
Floss can occasionally cause harm. Careless flossing can damage gums, teeth and dental work. Though frequency is unclear, floss can dislodge bad bacteria that invade the bloodstream and cause dangerous infections, especially in people with weak immunity, according to the medical literature.
Are you freaking kidding me?
They’re still telling us to floss, though. Though not in this article, they say that even if it doesn’t help in the aggregate it can be very helpful to individuals or something. That’s cool. I dig that. Except when vapers explain how ecigarettes helped us quit, we’re told by the same community that we’re just anecdotes.
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