Dental dishonesty, poll reveals we are not telling the whole tooth when it comes to flossing

June 22, 2018 by Dr. Andrew Smyth  •  Original Post

A survey has revealed that more than a quarter of us admits to lying to our dentist about our flossing habits.

The study reveals that 27 percent of us lie to our dentists on a regular basis, telling them that we floss every day. Astonishingly the findings also show that 14 per cent find cleaning the toilet more appealing than flossing every day.

We are all regularly reminded about the importance of cleaning between our teeth with dental floss or interdental brushes but this recent study shows that an astonishing amount of us are not only failing to do this as often as we should but are not admitting to our dentists about our shortcomings.

Earlier this year, a study from the British Dental Health Foundation revealed one in three Brits admitted that they have never flossed. The charity believes these new findings point to a worrying trend, as many of us are aware of the need to clean between our teeth but simple not doing it as often as we should.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE highlighted the importance of interdental cleaning: "A lot of us might well have dental floss in our bathroom cabinets and only dust it off before a date or trip to the dentist. We have simply not been taught the importance of cleaning between our teeth regularly.

"Education is important and we need to be clear about the benefits regular interdental cleaning can have. Alongside dentist visits and brushing twice a day the message of proper cleaning technique needs to be driven home to everyone.

Cleaning between our teeth is a critical part of good oral hygiene as it helps to prevent gum disease by helping to remove plaque from these areas.

In addition to problems inside the mouth, in recent years gum disease has been linked with general health conditions such as diabetes, strokes, cardiovascular disease, poor pregnancy outcomes and even dementia.

"The first sign of gum disease is blood on your toothbrush. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth," adds Dr Carter.

"The good news is that gum disease can be treated and even reversed with the correct care but the first thing you need to do if you have these symptoms is visit your dental team for a thorough check-up of your teeth and gums.

"If people are being dishonest about flossing their teeth then we can only start to imagine what other aspects of their oral health regime they are being dishonest about, people need to know that honesty, when it comes to our mouth, is always the best policy."

Although most people brush regularly, many don't clean between their teeth. Brushing alone only cleans three of the five surfaces of your teeth, so it is important that you also clean between your teeth every day.

Cleaning between teeth can be achieved with dental floss or tape and can also be done with special interdental brushes. These can be on long or short handles for easier use and are generally colour coded for the different-sized gaps between your teeth. Ask your dentist or hygienist for advice on how to use these products correctly and safely, and please be honest with them.

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York Dental Clinic is a Fredericton, NB based dental clinic.

We're a full time family-based Fredericton dentist office offering all aspects of dentistry. Our dental practice offers personal attention, commitment to excellence and a no-nonsense approach to oral health. Our number one priority is your comfort and satisfaction. Your individual needs are always considered and your choices always respected.