Of all the telephone surveys I have hung up on, I don’t recall one which has dealt with the subject of flossing.
Yes, flossing. The dental hygiene practice of getting a grip on some four pound test fishing line and running it between your teeth.
Most telephone surveys which have interrupted my naps and dinners ask about which political candidates I favor, not the cleanliness of those tight gaps in between my teeth…or in this case my kids’ teeth.
But according to a news release which floated through my office last week, somebody has actually conducted a dental flossing survey and produced the inevitable statistics.
There’s a set of statistics for everything, and an agency known as Delta Dental of Illinois has produced statistics on the riveting subject of flossing.
Here are the startling results: Nearly half of Illinois parents (47 percent) say getting kids to floss their teeth is one of the most challenging things to get their kids to do.
Now that I have you on the edge of your seats, here’s more. That figure is even higher than the percentage of kids who don’t like to do household chores (44 percent).
Thirty-five percent of parents surveyed said it’s a challenge to get their kids to brush their teeth regularly.
None of this surprises me. I don’t think I needed a statewide survey conducted in order to know that getting kids to clean their teeth – and their rooms – can be a challenge.
My only question is: Who asked?
As it turns out, the fine print at the bottom of the news release says the statistics were garnered from email interviews conducted statewide with 162 parents of children ages 12 and under. In other words, 162 parents, responding to an email poll, have determined the flossing habits of children throughout the state of Illinois.
As you can plainly see, things are slow in our office. Likewise, things must be slow in the survey business…and slow in the 162 households which responded to the survey.
Now that kids and flossing and chores have been covered, I’d like to suggest some far more intriguing survey subjects:
• When putting on a new license plate sticker, how many people remove the old sticker first, and how many simply cover it up?
• When filling out a form, let’s say a survey, how many people use check marks and how many use an “X”?
• How many people who use drive-up windows are still wearing their pajamas?
• How many times must a person have already seen a Seinfeld rerun before changing the channel?
• What percentage of fans watch a game, then watch the evening’s sports report in order to see the highlights?
• How many of those fans then switch to another station to catch the same highlights again?
• What percentage of food at a potluck dinner is really homemade?
• St. Patrick’s Day is coming up. What percentage of the population will eat corned beef and cabbage?
• And how many will skip the cabbage?
• How much office time will be lost during the upcoming NCAA tournament?
• And how much is the average bet on a tournament pool?
• How many packages of flower and garden seeds are purchased but never planted?
• What is the average life expectancy of a container of leftovers in a refrigerator before finally being thrown away?
• Last Sunday was the spring ahead time change. How many clocks remain unchanged, only to become correct again with the fall back time change in November?
• How many drivers slow down at the sight of a police officer, even though they are already driving within the speed limit?
• During the average telephone call, how many preliminary subjects are discussed before original purpose of the call is addressed?
• And how often is the weather the first of those lead-in subjects?
• And since the engaging subject of dental flossing started all of this, let’s get back to dental hygiene. How many people actually buy toothbrushes and how many only use the free samples handed out by their dentists?