A new study is the first to scientifically assess the number of Americans who actually floss their teeth. The study shows that only 30 percent of Americans floss daily, even fewer than those who say they never floss. This is unfortunate because flossing can help prevent receding gums.
A National Survey
The study’s results come from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationwide survey of the nation’s health habits derived from interviews and physical examinations of 5000 Americans a year.
This year, the CDC decided to include questions about flossing in the NHANES, and revealed that few people are following the recommendation for daily flossing.
The study revealed that 30% of Americans floss daily, while 37% floss sometimes but not daily, and 32% say they never floss.
At What Age Do You Just Give Up on Flossing?
These proportions are not equal across all demographics. Men are much more likely than women to say they never floss (39% vs. 27%).
Race also matters for flossing. Non-Hispanic white adults are less likely than non-Hispanic blacks and hispanics to never floss (30% vs vs. 40% vs. 38%).
And income matters, too. Nearly half of all low-income participants (49%) never flossed, while only 28% of higher income individuals never flossed.
In addition, it seems that older individuals may not have learned to floss, or they may have given up flossing, since 45% of people 75 years or older report never flossing, compared to only 31% of people age 30 to 44.
We May Also Be Lying
Although these numbers are not encouraging, dentists think that this may even be exaggerated. An advisor for the American Dental Association (ADA) told US News & World Reports that most dentists would estimate an even lower rate of daily flossing, perhaps as low as 10%. And that would not be surprising. A less scientific survey run by the American Academy of Periodontology last year said that as much as 27% of people lie to their dentist about flossing.
If It’s Too Late for Flossing
Although nearly a third of us never floss, we should, because it can help prevent gum disease which can lead to receding gums.
But if you’ve experienced receding gums, don’t despair. Gum rejuvenation can restore your gums to a healthy, youthful position.
And hopefully then you’ll floss to maintain your gums that way.