The tooth about flossing may surprise you.

The departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture removed any mention of the need for flossing in its newest dietary guidelines. The government took it one step further by admitting "the effectiveness of flossing had never been researched, as required."

It's a stunning turnabout, considering the government has recommended people floss since 1979.

The Associated Press investigated more than two dozen studies to try and determine how important flossing is. It found the practice is "weak, very unreliable" and of "very low" quality.

The New York Times, however, reports that "a review of six trials found that when professionals flossed the teeth of children on school days for almost two years, they saw a 40 percent reduction in the risk of cavities."

Despite the recent hullabaloo, the American Dental Association stands by its opinion that flossing is important to good oral health.

So, is flossing wise and essential? That's certainly been thrown into doubt, leaving those who hate flossing with a whole new excuse when confronted by their dentist about why they don't do it.