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Flossing a Quick Fix for Gum Disease, Bad Breath
Just two weeks of flossing, added to regular tooth brushing, can significantly reduce bleeding gums and bad breath, a U.S. study finds. Twins' study shows big results in just 2 weeks.
FRIDAY, Aug. 18 -- Just two weeks of flossing, added to regular tooth brushing, can significantly reduce bleeding gums and bad breath, a U.S. study finds.

The study included 51 sets of twins, aged 12 to 21, divided into two groups. One group brushed their teeth and tongue twice a day, while the other group did the same, along with flossing twice a day.

After two weeks, the group that brushed and flossed had a 38 percent reduction in gingival bleeding and also had less halitosis (bad breath). In contrast, participants who just brushed experienced a 4 percent increase in gingival bleeding.

The study was published in the current issue of the Journal of Periodontology.

"Gingival bleeding and halitosis is often the first sign of poor oral hygiene that may eventually lead to further periodontal problems. A good way to prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay is through at-home oral hygiene care and routine dental visits," study mentor Walter Bretz, of the department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care, New York University College of Dentistry, said in a prepared statement.

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