ADA Surveys Unusual Flossing Methods

The Placerville Dentistry Group reminds patients daily that flossing maintains healthy gums. But when food gets stuck in your teeth, have you ever resorted to something other than dental floss, dental picks or interdental brushes? Alternate tools may offer a quick fix, but using them could do more harm than good.

The American Dental Association (ADA) conducted a survey with the Waterpik company asking over one thousand people about items other than floss they’ve used to clean between their teeth. Here’s the breakdown of the results:

  • Fingernails (61%)
  • Folded paper (40%)
  • Forks or knives (21%)
  • Safety Pins (14%)
  • Hair (7%)

Those surveyed even admitted to using really unsanitary and dangerous things like toenails, twigs, loose wires and screwdrivers! We think it’s obvious that using items other than floss to remove food from your teeth may cause damage to your gums and teeth. Nevertheless, the ADA and the Placerville Dental Group agree that it must be said: use only approved dental tools to clean between your teeth.

Dr. Brittany Seymour, an ADA representative says, “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. If you’re not sure, start by looking for products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. That way, you know it’s safe for your teeth and will get the job done, removing germs rather than introducing them.”

The same survey also asked how often people flossed regularly with appropriate items.

  • 16% of those surveyed said they always floss daily.
  • 20% said they only flossed when they had something stuck in their teeth.
  • 8% said they never floss.
  • And nearly 50% said they lie to their dentist about how often they floss!

Why do so many people neglect to floss? Most say it takes too much time, thats it’s too painful and some say they find it gross to floss. Our Placerville dentists assure you that the results of neglecting to floss are far worse than spending thirty seconds each day to maintain your oral health. Flossing daily prevents gum recession, cavities, and bad breath. For help or advice, please feel free to consult with us at the Placerville Dental Group.


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