27 percent of U.S. adults lie about how often they floss

More than a quarter of U.S. adults admit they lie to their dentist about how often they floss their teeth, according to a national survey. In addition, some Americans would rather do an unpleasant activity, such as waiting in a long checkout line, than floss.

The survey, conducted by Harris Pool on behalf of the American Academy of Periodontology, asked 2,021 U.S. adults among the top U.S. markets.

The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day to help remove plaque from the areas between your teeth where toothbrushes can't reach. Plaque, if not removed, can eventually harden into calculus or tartar, according to MouthHealthy.org. Flossing can also help prevent cavities and gum disease.

Whether it's before or after brushing, according to MouthHealthy.org, the most important thing about flossing is to just do it. In addition, children need to floss too. Flossing a child's teeth should begin as soon as he or she has two teeth that touch. Because flossing demands more manual dexterity than very young children have, children are not usually able to floss well by themselves until they are age 10 or 11.

"There's clearly more work to be done when it comes to educating Americans about the importance of oral hygiene," said AAP President Joan Otomo-Corgel. "There are more than 500 bacterial species that can be found in plaque, and brushing alone does not remove the bacteria that live below the gum line."

In addition, the survey found, more than one-third of Americans would rather do an unpleasant activity, such as cleaning the toilet (14 percent) and washing a sink full of dirty dishes (18 percent), over daily flossing. Nearly one in 10 U.S. adults would rather sit in gridlock traffic for an hour or do their taxes than floss.

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