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Is flossing your teeth a waste of time?

Dec 2nd, 2016 by

The US health department has stopped recommending it, but the NHS is still in favour. So, should you bother?

“I don’t need to floss” is a sentence my dentist never used to hear – not until recently, when the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans stopped recommending it. Now, lots of his patients are telling him they’ve stopped. Despite the NHS advising daily flossing – and almost all dentists being fans of interdental cleaningan investigation by Associated Press found “little proof that flossing works”.

But how can it not be good for you? Between our teeth are interdental sites coated in dental plaque. Plaque is a layer of bacteria mixed with organic matter that coats teeth and causes gum inflammation (gingivitis) and tooth decay. Early warning signs include bleeding gums. Toothbrushes get rid of plaque from other surfaces, but are not so good between teeth. Surely floss can reach the parts that brushes can’t?

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