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.

© 2017 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.

Keep your teeth clean with an oral health routine.

Establishing an oral health routine is important for a healthy mouth. Try one of our oral health products to help you establish a schedule.