A survey by the British Dental Health Foundation has found that more than 60 percent of people are using whatever comes into their hand to clean off food debris struck in between their teeth. Items like screwdrivers, scissors, earrings, needles and knives are in common use, the survey said.
More disturbingly, the survey said that 23 percent leave food stuck in between their teeth giving rise to oral health problems and bad breath. "Clearly people really need to be educated on the importance of flossing. Flossing is a vital part of a good oral health routine, removing food particles from between the teeth and plaque from against gumline. It should be done once-a-day before brushing," said Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the foundation. "However it is very important to be gentle, even when using proper dental floss, as jerking or snapping the floss into the gums can damage the gum tissue."
Dr Cater said that the best thing to use would be inter-dental wood stick since they are shaped like the gum tissue. "A screwdriver is hardly the most flexible of items and I don't think people realize the damage this could do to their gums," he said, adding that while it may sound funny, people were actually harming their teeth.
The survey kicks off the National Smile Month in the UK.