Report Shows Only 30% of Americans Floss Every Day

One-third of Americans never flossFlossing removes bits of food and plaque from the nooks and crannies in between the teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach. If these particles are not removed, they eventually harden into calculus or tartar. Tartar, which cannot be removed with a toothbrush, gradually eats away at the teeth and gums, causing gum disease and, eventually, tooth and jawbone loss.

Despite what we know about the importance of flossing, a surprising study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only a third of Americans floss every day — and a third never floss! Here, Dr. Ricardo Hernandez of Pacific Beach Smile Studio breaks down the study’s results.

What the Study Found

Dr. Duong T. Nguyen, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service, received an assignment to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which revealed a snapshot of the nation’s health habits. The data from this survey was collected from interviews and physical examinations of 5,000 people a year.

Dr. Nguyen’s team looked at data from more than 9,000 American adults, ages 30 and older, who participated in the study between 2009 and 2012. In the section that asked participants about flossing, the team found that 30 percent of participants reported flossing daily, 32 percent never flossed and 37 percent were somewhere in the middle.

What else surprised Dr. Nguyen and his team? Males were more likely to admit to never flossing than females. And, adults ages 75 and older were more likely to admit never flossing than adults between the ages of 30 and 44. Those in higher income brackets were less likely to report never flossing than those in lower income brackets. Also, non-Hispanic white adults were less likely to report never flossing than non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics.

Dr. Nguyen believes that increasing education about why flossing is important and what it can prevent is the key to increasing the number of people that floss daily.

“We need to improve health practices and make sure people understand something as easy as flossing can prevent a whole host of other dental issues for you as you age and grow up,” Dr. Nguyen said.

Stay Diligent about Your Oral Health

Flossing is only one part of a healthy oral hygiene practice. Another part is to have annual check-ups with your dentist, who will examine your teeth and gums for any potential problems. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hernandez, please contact Pacific Beach Smile Studio by calling 858-272-6047 today.

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