Do you need to floss? Don’t give up on it yet

ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - The Associated Press looked at data from 25 studies conducted over the past decade. The studies compared the use of a toothbrush alone with combined use of a toothbrush and floss. Those studies concluded that the evidence for flossing is weak, very unreliable and carries, "a moderate to large potential for bias."

One review went even further, saying that the, "Majority of available studies fail to demonstrate that flossing is generally effective in plaque removal."

The findings fly in the face of accepted "traditional wisdom" on dental health. For decades, dental groups, floss manufacturers and other organizations have urged people to floss. Since 1979, the U.S. Government has recommended flossing, first in a Surgeon General's report and then in the dietary guidelines for Americans released every five years.

However, under the law, those guidelines must be based on scientific evidence, according to the AP. After they asked for evidence, the federal government admitted there was no research supporting the effectiveness of flossing, the news agency said.

Is flossing really a waste of time? Dr. Sonny Saggar wouldn`t go that far. Not yet anyway. It may be just a question of how people floss.

Dr. Saggar is an emergency and urgent care physician, is also an internist. He sees patients at downtown Urgent Care and St. Alexius Hospital Emergency Department. You can reach him at STLHealthWorks.com or STLPrimaryCare.com.

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