As you well know, flossing daily is highly important to dental health. Brushing alone won’t remove the more than 500 species of bacteria that can be found in dental plaque, but flossing can help to remove them.
The American Academy of Periodontology commissioned a national Harris Poll survey of 2,021 US adults, which revealed some interesting findings. Not surprisingly, many people have a strong aversion to flossing according to the results of the survey. Twenty percent of the people that live in Chicago say they would rather sit in gridlock traffic for an hour than floss, while 21% of the residents of Philadelphia would rather wait in a long checkout line than floss. And strangely, 14% of those surveyed would rather clean a toilet than floss daily.
The survey found strong regional differences in the amount of flossing and dental hygiene habits in general. More than 25% of the adults surveyed said they lie to their dentists about how often they floss, but 82% of the people in Atlanta are more likely to be honest about this practice. New Yorkers are much more likely to floss than people who live in other metro areas.
Americans’ lack of flossing can have profound effects on their oral hygiene, since plaque build-up below the gum line causes swelling and eventually leads to periodontal disease. Left untreated, this condition can lead to issues such as tooth decay and tooth loss and receding gums.
Periodontal disease has even been linked to disease such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease. There should be a strong incentive to floss, since doing so once a day along with brushing at least twice a day can prevent periodontal disease.