Local dentist disputes claims flossing does not prevent cavities and gum disease

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Since 1979, the federal government has recommended daily flossing to prevent cavities and gun disease as part of its Dietary Guidelines. Until now. The recommendation was quietly dropped from the government’s guidelines.

The move comes amid a debate over whether flossing actually works. The Associated Press says it found that evidence to support flossing is weak.

Dr. Cathy Cook, a local dentist, has been recommending her patients floss for 18 years. She compares not flossing to never cleaning under your appliances.

“What do you think you’re going to find? A lot of debris.  Dust bunnies, something that rolled under there, some toy, maybe a little critter. It’s the same thing in your mouth. If you’re not flossing in between your teeth you’re leaving that bacteria and you’re leaving that food. And those are the things that carry the bad bugs that cause disease in the mouth,” said Dr. Cook.

The AP reviewed 25 studies over the past decade and found the evidence for flossing is weak and unreliable.

However, Wayne Aldredge, the President of the American Academy of Periodontology still urges patients to floss daily to avoid gum disease.  The way he puts it, “It’s like building a house and not painting two sides of it. Ultimately those two sides are going to rot away quicker.”

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