You know how your dentist always tells you to make sure to floss? Next time she says that you can tell her to shove it, because it turns out flossing doesn't do a damn thing.
The Associated Press, in an apparent attempt to cast off the most tedious of hygiene rituals once and for all, examined 25 studies on flossing and tooth-brushing from the past 10 years and concluded that the evidence that flossing actually does anything good for your teeth is "weak," and "very unreliable."
And it turns out that, what little evidence there is to suggest that flossing is good for you probably comes from places that have something to gain from getting you to buy floss, the AP reported — and even they had trouble getting pro-flossing results from the research.
Even companies with a big market share of the flossing business — by next year, the global market is predicted to reach almost $2 billion, with half in the United States, according to publisher MarketSizeInfo.com — struggled to provide convincing evidence of their claims that floss reduces plaque or gingivitis. Yet the industry has paid for most studies and sometimes designed and conducted the research.
The American Dental Association has recommended flossing since 1908, AP reports, and continues to insist that flossing is "essential." But, notably, the ADA also "partners" with companies that make floss.
The federal government recently took flossing off of a list of dietary guidelines and told the wire service that "the effectiveness of flossing had never been researched, as required."
Throw out your floss, everyone.