Does your dentist know the truth?

As most of us know, along with brushing twice a day and seeing a dentist regularly, daily flossing plays a critical role in the prevention of periodontal disease. But according to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), over a quarter of U.S. adults are dishonest with their dentists about how often they floss their teeth. The AAP released a national survey in June which states that not only are 27% of adults dishonest about their flossing habits, but more than a third of adults would rather do an unpleasant task, such as cleaning a toilet, over daily flossing.

In a post on the AAP website, AAP President Joan Otomo-Corgel, DDS, MPH was quoted as saying “There’s clearly more work to be done when it comes to educating Americans about the importance of oral hygiene. There are more than 500 bacterial species that can be found in plaque, and brushing alone does not remove the bacteria that live below the gum line.”

Periodontal disease, commonly referred to as gum disease, is an inflammatory disease caused when bacteria in plaque below the gum line lead to swelling, irritation, and even receding gums and tooth loss. It has been linked to many chronic diseases, but is still hardly ever discussed.

Otomo-Corgel went on to say “The good news about periodontal disease is, with proper and timely care, it’s treatable and often reversible. If a person is at risk for periodontal disease, a periodontist has the training and expertise to determine the best course of treatment.”

The survey revealed that instead of flossing, some Americans would rather:

  • Wash a sink full of dirty dishes – 18%
  • Wait in a long check-out line – 14%
  • Clean the toilet – 14%
  • Sit in gridlock traffic – 9%

So is it time to reevaluate your flossing habits?  Perhaps so. Three in five (60%) adults with a partner say their partner’s oral health (teeth, gums, breath) has an effect on their intimacy, while over a third of Americans say a smile is the first thing they notice when meeting someone they are attracted to. This is especially true for women.

The AAP has created the Love the Gums You’re With campaign to encourage people to take better care of their gums by adopting simple improvements to their oral hygiene. To aid in the prevention of periodontal disease, the AAP recommends brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and discussing periodontal health with a dental professional.

To read more about the findings in the AAP study, click HERE.