More than a quarter of Americans lie about it, and 36 percent say they would rather do an unpleasant activity, such as cleaning the toilet or working on their taxes.
Flossing one’s teeth, according to a Harris Poll survey, is in some cases a less desirable activity than listening to the sound of nails on a chalkboard or to small children crying on a bus or plane.
The survey was conducted as part of the American Academy of Periodontology’s national campaign called “Love The Gums You’re With.” The industry group seeks to bring more awareness to gum disease.
The survey found that the top three unpleasant activities people would rather do than floss were washing a sinkful of dirty dishes (18 percent preferred), cleaning the toilet (14 percent) and waiting in a long check-out line (14 percent).
When analyzed by city, New Yorkers said they were more likely to floss daily while people in Atlanta were more likely to be honest about flossing when asked by their dentists. Those in Chicago were more likely to prefer sitting in an hour of gridlock traffic than flossing.
Overall, more than one-quarter of those surveyed said they lied to their dentists about flossing.
The survey also showed that 88 percent of Americans would be somewhat or very likely to tell a friend if they had something stuck in their teeth, with those living in the Washington area the least likely to do so.
The poll was conducted online March 20 to March 30 on behalf of the American Academy of Periodontology. Harris Poll surveyed 2,021 American adults in the 10 largest U.S. cities.