How often do you floss? If the answer is rarely or never, you are not alone. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) took a look at Americans’ health habits and found what some dentists may consider to be alarming information on flossing. In this blog post, trusted dentist Dr. Wayne Sutton of Sonoma Smiles discusses the study’s findings as well as some important information on flossing.
About the Study’s Findings
Researchers looked at data collected from more than 9,000 Americans, age 30 and older, who were asked to report their health habits. When asked about flossing, only 30 percent said they flossed daily, while 32 percent said they never flossed and 37 percent said they sometimes flossed.
According to the findings, men are more likely to admit to never flossing than women. Approximately 27 percent of women said they do not floss while 39 percent of all men admitted to never flossing. Additionally, 45 percent of all adults ages 75 and older said they did not floss, outnumbering the number of adults ages 30 to 34 (31 percent) who said they never flossed. Individuals in lower income brackets were more likely to say they never flossed (49 percent) than those in higher income brackets (28 percent). Researchers also found that non-Hispanic African Americans (40 percent) and Hispanics (30 percent) who reported never flossing outpace the number of non-Hispanic whites (30 percent).
Why Aren’t More People Flossing?
The study’s lead author, Dr. Duong Nguyen, an Intelligence Officer at the CDC, believes lack of education may be a reason why some people do not floss.
“I think it’s one of those things people don’t know enough about,” said Dr. Nguyen. “We don’t tell them why [to floss].”
Flossing is a part of basic oral hygiene, as it removes food particles and other debris from the mouth that are hard-to-reach with a toothbrush. If not removed, these particles can lead to plaque and tartar, and eventually decay, gum disease and tooth loss. Dr. Sutton recommends all patients floss at least once a day. For the most effective results, the dentist recommends flossing between every tooth using a C-shaped motion.
To learn more about flossing or other oral health tips, please schedule a one-on-one consultation with Sonoma Smiles at (707) 585-2555.
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(All photos of actual patients)