ADA Survey Shows Americans Use Strange Things for Flossing

a boy using his fingers to remove stuck food in his teeth

One out of 12 American adults never floss their teeth, while most people use “unusual items” such as fingernails, folded paper or cards, cutlery or hair strands as a dental floss, according to a survey.

The American Dental Association (ADA) commissioned a survey to find out the unusual tools that Americans use to remove food debris in between teeth.

Strange Flossing

Ipsos surveyed on behalf of the ADA. It based its findings on 1,005 adult Americans and showed that 61% use fingernails to floss their teeth. Folded paper or cards did the trick for 40% of the respondents, while 21% said they use a fork, knife or spoon. Those that use safety pins and strands of hair represented 14% and 7% of the respondents, respectively.

ADA spokesperson Brittany Seymour said that finding safe and appropriate products should not be difficult. The ADA Seal of Acceptance, for instance, helps you choose the type of product that works best for you. If you live in Indianapolis, dentistry professionals may recommend several options for on-the-go flossers.

Flossing Habits

ADA advises you to floss every day. This prevents plaque buildup by removing food debris in your mouth, which leads to tooth decay. It also helps in resolving the issue of bad breath, notes Gentle Dentist. However, only 16% of the survey’s respondents said that they floss daily, while 20% admitted that they do so when something gets stuck in their teeth.

Time served as the most common excuse for 55% of the respondents, who believe that flossing takes too much of their time. More than one-third of them provided a different excuse, including laziness and forgetting to do so.

You should consider flossing to be a preventive measure against cavities and other dental problems. Ask your dentist for safe options, especially if you feel pain when you floss your teeth.