A recent survey conducted on behalf of Waterpik and in consultation with the ADA, found that when the appropriate tools are not around, Americans resort to using some common, however unusual, items to remove food stuck between their teeth.
The survey of over 1,000 adults found that most Americans say they have used the following items to remove food between teeth: fingernails (61 percent), folded paper or cards (60 percent), cutlery (21 percent), safety pins (14 percent) and strands of hair (7 percent). In a separate study, other unorthodox items reported were: twigs, toenails, matchbooks, loose electrical wires, screwdrivers and pocket knives.
Additionally, 63 percent of the surveyed adults admit they know better than to use those items in comparison to dental picks, interdental brushes, floss and water flossing tools. Also, 42 percent say they’ve felt pain as a result of removing something in their teeth when using those unusual items.
“It’s really easy to use clean and safe items on-the-go and at home – like string floss, dental picks and water flossers. The key is finding what works best for you to stick with every day.” *
According to the survey of the public:
- Sixteen percent said they always floss at least once a day.
- Twenty percent said they only floss when they need to or when something is stuck in their teeth; 8 percent said they simply never floss.
- The biggest reason reported for not flossing among those who do not floss at daily is because it too time consuming, too painful or they find it gross.
- Forty-four percent of those surveyed admit they have exaggerated to their dentist about how much they floss when asked.
*Dr. Brittany Seymour, ADA spokesperson and assistant professor at Harvard School of Dental Medicine
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