Flossing is one of those things we all know we should be doing more, but statistics clearly show that Americans fall short on the recommended daily practice. A recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey discovered that only 30 percent of the United States population flosses daily, and 32 percent of the population reports never flossing at all.
In fact, a study published by the American Academy of Periodontology shows that Americans hate flossing even more than performing unpleasant household chores.For example, washing dishes was preferred over flossing by 18 percent of those surveyed. Tied for second place, 14 percent felt cleaning the toilet and waiting in a checkout line sounded more appealing than flossing. Other chores in the study preferred over flossing included sitting in gridlock traffic, doing taxes, listening to crying children on a plane and hearing nails on a chalkboard.
Flossing Incorrectly Leads to Pain
Although the study may seem extreme, it drives home the truth that Americans dislike flossing, and there’s probably a reason, said Dr. Ken Collins, DDS, of Collins Family Dentistry in Spokane, Washington.
“The problem is, flossing is such an important part of your oral health that we have to help people find a way to get over that hatred,” he said. “Many people hate it because it hurts, but if it hurts they’re likely doing it wrong.”
According to Collins, the correct way to floss is to gently make a “C” motion with the floss along the sides of the teeth. Collins said most patients he sees push the floss down firmly between teeth right into the gums. Damage to the gums leads to receding gums, pain and tooth sensitivity.
“What many people forget is that each tooth has five surfaces: four sides and the top. If you only brush your teeth and never floss, you are completely missing two of those surfaces on every single tooth in your mouth,” he said.
Flossing Tips From the ADA
According to the American Dental Association, you should use approximately 18 inches of dental floss wrapped around your fingertips. Then, slide the floss carefully between teeth in a curved motion. Move the floss up and down to scrape away built-up plaque and food particles. Never saw back and forth as it can damage the gums. Never reuse the same piece of floss as bacteria can grow. After flossing, rinse with a mouthwash and brush your teeth.
“At the end of the day, we know flossing is important,” said Collins, “we just need to help patients around the nation find ways to break the stigma that it’s painful or unpleasant.”
Or office in Spokane is located at:
3151 E. 28th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99223
Office phone # 509-368-7788