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“You need to floss more often,” your dentist tells the kids every time they get a cleaning. Since 1979, the American Dental Association (ADA) and the federal government have said flossing daily is a crucial part of preventing gum disease and cavities. 

But new guidelines issued by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services don’t mention flossing at all when it comes to keeping teeth and gums healthy. What’s more, the government acknowledged in a recent letter to the Associated Press that there’s little research to support flossing’s effectiveness. 

Though the government no longer recommends flossing, many dentists continue to promote it—since it may help reverse gum problems that tend to develop over time. When it comes to flossing, dentists argue no harm, no foul: flossing won’t have any negative effects on her smile.