By now most people have heard about the controversial removal of flossing recommendations from the 2017 federal dietary guidelines. A review conducted by the departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture examined 25 studies that compared brushing and flossing to brushing alone. Department officials decided that, due to the short duration and small sample sizes of the studies, the research did not meet the criteria to be included in the dietary guidelines, so the recommendation for flossing was removed.
What Are the Federal Dietary Guidelines?
As required under the 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act, the United States Agriculture and Health and Human Services departments publish a joint report every five years with nutritional and dietary information and guidelines. These guidelines must be based on current scientific and medical research and knowledge.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is the eighth edition of this required publication and will remain the standard until the 2020-2025 edition is released. It’s used by policymakers to help develop policies and programs regarding food, nutrition and health and is the basis for educational materials designed for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Agriculture.
So, Does This Mean Flossing Isn’t Necessary?
According to the American Dental Association, the decision to remove flossing from the dietary guidelines does not mean flossing does not help keep teeth healthy, and it still should be a part of every daily oral hygiene routine. In fact, the United States Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged the importance of flossing and released the following statement to the ADA: “Flossing is an important oral hygiene practice. Tooth decay and gum disease can develop when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth and along the gum line. Professional cleaning, tooth brushing and cleaning between teeth (flossing and the use of other tools such as interdental brushes) have been shown to disrupt and remove plaque …”
The ADA still recommends brushing teeth twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste, along with cleaning between teeth at least once a day with an interdental cleaner of your choice. It doesn’t have to be floss – it could be a Water Pik or other tool designed to clean between teeth – but the bottom line is it’s still important to clean between teeth, according to the ADA.
“Plaque builds up not only on the teeth but between them,” said Dr. Ken Collins, a leading dentist in the Spokane, Washington, area. “Teeth are not two-sided with only a front and a back. It’s important to clean each side as well as dislodge any food particles that become stuck between them to avoid serious decay and eventually gum disease.”
Or office in Spokane is located at:
3151 E. 28th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99223
Office phone # 509-368-7788