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Flossing may be a waste of time

Although the federal government and dentists alike have insisted that flossing is essential to prevent cavities and gum disease, there are actually no data to back up the claim. Because of this, the dietary guidelines for Americans, issued by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, have discreetly dropped any dental floss–related recommendations, The New York Times reports. Twelve randomized trials in 2011 found “very unreliable” evidence that flossing may reduce plaque buildup, but studies on whether flossing prevents gum disease or cavities are nowhere to be found. Dentists still insist on their patients flossing, though, saying those who refuse are “rolling the dice.”

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