Since 1979, American’s have been told by the United States government, that flossing is a recommended part of our dietary guidelines. Even before that, the American Dental Association has been endorsing flossing, Their enforcement began in 1908. What makes a product recommended and endorsed by the American government and other health agencies?
Every five years, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans comes out. This report is required by law to contain recommendations which are evidence based. But last year the Associated Press requested evidence on flossing based on scientific evidence. The request was sent to the departments of Health and Human services and Agriculture. Associated Press also formally filed Freedom of Information Acts. After the request, Associated Press received a letter from the government admitting that proper research had never been done, though it is required. In the most current copy of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, flossing was omitted, according to the Associated Press.
AP analyzed the data in the past 25 reports on tooth brushing and flossing. But the evidence that flossing was beneficial, was very weak. The American Dental Association cited their own studies claiming flossing is beneficial in the reduction of plaque and dental illness. But the AP reports the tests were weak at best and some did not last long enough to provide information.
While some people will continue to floss daily, we will not be hearing about government recommendations on the subject. For now flossing remains a personal choice. Perhaps it always should have been. If government data is unsubstantiated, and the American Dental Association is not looking out for our best interest, we must be responsible. After all isn’t our health up to us?.