If you're not flossing, you probably have food stuck between your teeth — or do you?
Last year, the federal government removed flossing from its dietary guidelines following Associated Press Freedom of Information Act requests. The AP received a letter from the government saying the effectiveness of flossing had never been researched. In fact, AP reported "evidence for flossing is 'weak, very unreliable,' of 'very low' quality, and carries 'a moderate to large potential for bias.'"
Many Americans aren't a fan of floss anyway. Nearly a third of adults say they never floss, and only about 31.5% say they flossed every day in the last week, according to a CDC survey. The American Academy of Periodontology released a survey in 2015 showing that 27% of adults say they lie to their dentist about how often they floss.
Matthew Messina, dentist and American Dental Association spokesman, still says those who don't floss are at greater risk for gum disease and cavities. To him, it's common sense. He says brushing doesn't cut it — he often challenges patients to brush everything out at his office, only to show them what he can still find with floss.
"Brushing is very important but you can’t get the bristles in between the teeth," Messina said. "Floss pulls bacteria and plaque and food that smells bad."
Not flossing could also have an adverse cosmetic affect, he said. Messina said if food isn't flossed out from between teeth, teeth can shift.
The ADA recommends brushing twice a day and flossing once a day.