The FDA is continually changing its recommendations and guidelines, and with good reason most of the time. As new scientific research becomes available the changes drive the content of their guidelines.Recently the FDA has removed the recommendation of flossing daily that has been in place since 1979. The 36 year old recommendation was removed somewhat suddenly, causing a bit of a stir, particularly in the dental community. It was removed after the AP began asking for the government to look in to the research and effectiveness of flossing. Apparently due to the lack of scientific research, the government removed the recommendation.
In 2015, there were many changes to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans that shocked some people. One notable change was the realization that dietary cholesterol does not play a major role in blood cholesterol. Meaning, the kind of cholesterol in the foods we eat are not the driving force for the kind of cholesterol doctors are most concerned about. Nutrition scientists have said this for some time now. Many factors affect blood cholesterol more than dietary cholesterol, such as physical activity, body weight, intake of saturated and trans fat, heredity, age, and sex. In 2010, the DGA recommended limiting dietary cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams (mg) per day—at the time, men were consuming 350 mg and women 240 mg per day. The 2015-2020 DGA makes no recommendation to limit cholesterol, stating that “Adequate evidence is not available for a quantitative limit of dietary cholesterol specific to the Dietary Guidelines.” We can again eat eggs without feeling guilty.
In a CBS article Dr. Steven Glassman, a dentist in New York City, says he was “shocked” that the recommendation was dropped. “We used to say, ‘only floss those teeth you want to keep,'” he told CBS News.
“I’m practicing dentistry for 26 years… We see it in our patients every day. The ones that don’t floss build up more inflammation between their teeth. Brushing alone, even some of the super-duper electronic toothbrushes, [do] really well at removing plaque above the gum line and on the outer surfaces and biting surfaces of the teeth, but it’s in between that we can’t really get to. That’s where flossing comes in,” he said.
Dentists have seen it over and over again that if a patient flosses they have healthier gums and teeth. An interesting book “Real Age” by Michael F. Roizen, M, states an approach to calculate how old a person is actually (compared to averages and actuarial tables) based to a great degree upon choices he/she makes about lifestyle, eating, exercise, etc. An excerpt on flossing states. “Flossing your teeth daily can make your arteries younger. The probable reason: Flossing helps keep your immune system young… the same bacteria that causes periodontal disease also triggers an immune response, and inflammation, causing the arteries to swell. The swelling of the arterial walls results in a constriction of blood flow that can lead to a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease. Other studies have shown that periodontal disease leads to a higher white blood cell count, which is an indicator that the immune system is under increased stress…. Poor oral hygiene and particularly increased tooth loss are important indicators of your risk. The fewer teeth you have, the greater your risk of gum infections.” Our point is, don’t stop flossing. Consult your dentist and get a practical recommendation from him.