Comedian W.C. Fields once said, "Horse sense is the thing a horse has, which keeps it from betting on people."
For some reason that came to mind when we read news reports on flossing that declared an Associated Press investigation had proved the practice wasn't beneficial.
Let's apply a little horse sense to this discussion.
What the AP findings actually showed was that there haven't been enough reliable clinical trials to state definitively that flossing prevents cavities or periodontal disease.
The American Dental Association response to the study: "The bottom line for dentists and patients is that a lack of strong evidence doesn't equate to a lack of effectiveness."
Flossing removes food from between teeth and below the gum. The Canadian Dental Hygienists Association states: "When food accumulates between teeth, it is metabolized by bacteria to produce plaque. Plaque causes both inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and the demineralization of teeth, which leads to tooth decay."
A new study out of Helsinki, Finland, found that there's "a very strong link between the bacteria involved in gum disease and the increased risk of heart disease."
Gum disease has been linked to a six-fold increase in the rate of cognitive decline.
The truth is it all depends on in how well you floss. A review of six trials found that when professionals flossed the teeth of children on school days for almost two years, they saw a 40 percent reduction in the risk of cavities.
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