Every time you go to the dentist, you are told that you should floss your teeth. If you’re one of the people who eagerly follows that advice, you may have been disappointed if you read this week that there isn’t much evidence supporting flossing.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep flossing. It just means that we haven’t done enough research on its benefits. We can tell you based on our experience that flossing does make a difference.
Why the Evidence for Flossing Is Weak
The problem with here isn’t associated with flossing: the problem is with science. In the Cochrane review of flossing, only 12 qualifying studies were identified. This isn’t very much research, and with some of them not having great methodology, it’s no wonder that the Cochrane people would classify the evidence as “weak.”
One of the problems with the studies is that very few of them are long-term studies. They were all less than 9 months long. Flossing in particular and oral health in general is a long-term strategy. Over time you will see benefit, but that benefit may not be especially pronounced over a short time frame.
However, what evidence there is supports flossing. People who floss have less gum inflammation and bleeding, the signs of