Here's The Latest On Whether You Should Actually Bother Flossing Or Not

Make your mind up, guys

All those hours you've spent flossing / feeling guilty about not flossing? Turns out it may have been a waste of time.

Well, not a complete waste of time, but new research is suggesting that the who fiddly palaver is not nearly as beneficial as it's often made out to be.

The Associated Press reports that in the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the recommendation for daily flossing was removed without notice and a recent study by AP has found "there's little proof that flossing works."

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The AP came to this conclusion after focusing on multiple studies that compared the use of a toothbrush with the combination of toothbrushes and floss.

"The majority of available studies fail to demonstrate that flossing is generally effective in plaque removal," said one review conducted last year, according to the news agency. Another 2015 review is said to cite "inconsistent/weak evidence" for flossing.

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Yet in the UK, the NHS advises flossing on a daily basis to reduce the build up of plaque between the teeth and prevent gum disease. So, we know brushing teeth twice a day is essential, but is it worth sticking with the flossing routine?

It can be difficult to rely on research, as the impact of flossing is dependent on the skill of the individual, but the Guardian points to a 2011 review by the Cochrane Oral Health Group for some answers. 

The results found that although flossing (with brushing) did help to reduce gum inflammation, there was "weak, unreliable evidence" to prove that flossing reduces plaque. 

However, the paper concluded that it is worth pursuing flossing, as the benefits of ensuring your teeth are properly cleaned outweigh the risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay down the line. 

So, if you really care about your pearly whites, it's probably a good idea to keep the dental floss handy. Dammit.