Image Dental Blog


Thursday, July 21, 2016

So, Do Americans Even Floss? [Dental News]

Even though flossing should be a priority, many of us are actually guilty of not flossing appropriately. According to a recent study led by Duong T. Nguyen, it is scientifically possible to categorize Americans into three categories: 
    dental news american floss study
  • Those that floss daily
  • Those that never floss 
  • Those that inconsistently floss

The Results are Shocking!

After searching for floss around his house, Duong T. Nguyen, a medical epidemiologist, developed the concept for his study. He kept wondering just how many people ACTUALLY floss. As a result of his curiosity on the subject, with a bit of research, Nguyen discovered that no rigorous or official studies had been made on the subject. He then took it upon himself to create a scientifically valid analysis.

The first nationally representative analysis that would help Nguyen determine the exact percentage of people flossing revealed astonishing results. The study included all 3 categories previously mentioned, the ones that floss daily, the ones that never floss and those that are inconsistent with their flossing routine.

The study showed that only 30% of the population in America floss daily. The study also showed that only 37% of the population has an inconsistent flossing routine and that 32% of the population NEVER floss.

Nguyen and his colleagues parsed their study totals by age, sex, race and a ratio of family income and poverty level.

Among the findings they discovered the following:

  • Males (39 percent) were more like to report never flossing than females (27 percent).
  • People 75 or older (45 percent) were more likely to report never flossing than those age 30 to 44 (31 percent).
  • Non-Hispanic blacks (40 percent) and Hispanics (38 percent) were more likely to report never flossing than non-Hispanic white adults (30 percent).
  • Low-income participants (49 percent) were more likely to report never flossing than those in higher income brackets (28 percent).

Flossing Done Properly

If properly done, flossing removes all food particles that tend to stick to teeth and create bacteria. Usually if left untreated or uncared for, this bacteria can create inflammation and many times gum disease. Overtime, the bacteria creates ‘colonies’ which are commonly known as plaque. The bacteria hardens into tartar and wear away at the gums and bone, eventually causing tooth loss, which is never a good thing.

The Need for Proper Dental Health Education

Although the results ended up being higher than originally expected, professionals believe there is still room for improvement. Most dentists would guess that the percentage of daily flossers is less than what the results stated, maybe as low as 10%, which is what made this study so unique and informative. This estimated percentage only states that there is a need for more conversation on flossing. If it wasn’t for Nguyen’s study, the topic wouldn’t have been looked at to this extent. Many dentists are excited to have a study to refer to and look at flossing in a different light, something to base their theories from.

As Nguyen presented his findings on May 2, 2016 he stated "Something as simple as flossing is, to a lot of people, a bane," he says. "They don't want to do it. Yet, in the long run it can be so beneficial – it can prevent tooth loss and everything that comes with it."

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