According to information from the Associated Press and other sources, a combination of new studies now call into question the decades-old practice of everyone believing flossing your teeth and gums is necessary.

The AP and other news organizations noticed Federal dental and oral health guidelines recently had the flossing recommendations removed, without any notice. This prompted several groups to examine why.

It turns out the Department of Health had never researched (independently) the claims that flossing helps prevent gum disease and tooth loss. Since 1979, the practice has been included in Federal guidelines, and the American Dental Association has it listed on their website.

However, some 25 different studies over the last decade seem to show little impact by running the waxy string between your teeth. This doesn't mean to neglect oral care, but especially over the last few years, newer toothbrushes, safe dental 'picks' and other tools are found to do a better job of cleaning teeth-along with newer mouthwash products.  Studies found some slight indications flossing would help prevent gum disease or the beginning of it, but not to the degree originally presented.

Apparently, the feds removed the flossing recommendations from their dental sites because they didn't independently test the theories. For now, they recommend following the advice of YOUR personal dentist.

But once word of this gets out, you can bet children will be rejoicing everywhere. Unless you do it a lot, and are used to it, flossing can hurt if you slip!