You’re not the only one who isn't telling the dentist the truth about your oral hygiene routine. According to a new survey from the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), 27 percent of American adults lie to their dentists about how often they floss.
The AAP survey also found that out of the 2021 adults who responded, many of them would prefer to do a different unpleasant activity over flossing, like washing dishes (18 percent), cleaning the toilet (14 percent), waiting in the checkout line (14 percent), getting stuck in gridlock traffic (9 percent), doing taxes (9 percent), listening to a child cry (7 percent) or hearing nails on a chalkboard (7 percent).
It should be noted that the survey doesn't mention whether the unpleasant activity would have to be performed as often as you’re supposed to floss—it’s hard to imagine people who’d rather do their taxes twice a day than run a piece of string through their teeth for less than five minutes.
But considering 20 percent of Americans never floss at all, these numbers shouldn't be all that surprising.
The findings also showed that flossing behavior varied by city. New Yorkers were more likely to floss than any of the other 10 metro areas surveyed, and people in Atlanta were the most honest when it came to accurately reporting back to their dentists. They’re also much better at telling friends whether they have food stuck in their teeth, unlike people in Washington D.C, who were the least likely to do so. Incidentally, Washington D.C is also the least honest city in America, so if you’re going out to eat in our nation’s capital, make sure you bring a pocket mirror.