Associated Press probe questions benefits of flossing

A new investigation released by The Associated Press says there is little evidence to support that flossing is beneficial.

A new investigation released by The Associated Press says there is little evidence to support that flossing is beneficial. (8/2/16)

NORWALK - A new investigation released by The Associated Press says there is little evidence to support that flossing is beneficial.

Dentists in southwestern Connecticut say brushing is helpful, but a toothbrush cannot get to those tiny spots that flossing can. But the AP found there is almost no reliable evidence proving that.

Dr. David Gottlieb, a periodontist in Norwalk, always asks his patients one question: "Are you flossing on any kind of regular basis?"

Clinically speaking, Gottlieb says he and his colleagues believe there is a real benefit to flossing.

The AP looked at 25 medical studies for its investigation, and many found "inconsistent/weak evidence." One medical review said, "The majority of available studies fail to demonstrate that flossing is generally effective in plaque removal."

Dr. Alex Volchonok, also a periodontist, says a study proving floss works could take up to two decades since gum disease can take years to develop. He also says other factors such as overall health and smoking can complicate a study.

Some dentists tell News 12 that flossing is only effective if done the right way, but many people do not properly floss. That, they say, could be skewing the study's results.

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