February 10, 2009
by Oral Health
Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and what do people find most attractive in others? The smile. A national survey from the American Dental Association and Crest® and Oral B® finds that the smile outranked eyes, hair and the body as the most attractive physical feature.
Yet men and women differ when it comes to taking care of their teeth and gums. The nationally representative survey of 1,000 Americans ages 18 and older found 86 percent of women brush their teeth twice or more a day, yet only 66 percent of men do so.
The survey also found that women say they change their toothbrush or power toothbrush head every 3-4 months on average, yet men hang on to theirs an average of 5 months. The ADA recommends replacing toothbrushes every 3-4 months or when the bristles become frayed since frayed and worn bristles decrease cleaning effectiveness.
Sadly, all Americans need to do a better job of flossing their teeth. Only half of those surveyed (49 percent) say they floss their teeth once a day or more often. And 1 out of 3 people surveyed think a little blood in the sink after brushing their teeth is normal, yet it’s not—it could signal gum disease or another health problem.
Oral health is an important part of overall health. Regular dental check-ups are important not only to diagnose and treat gum disease and tooth decay, but also because some diseases or medical conditions, such as oral cancer, have symptoms that can appear in the mouth.
Growing research indicates there may be an association between oral health and serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, underscoring the importance of good oral hygiene habits.
“We need to constantly get the word out how important it is to stay on top of your oral health,” says Dr. Ada Cooper, an ADA consumer advisor and practicing dentist in New York City. “Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, eating a balanced diet, and visiting your dentist regularly can help keep your smile healthy.”
For more information on the survey findings and other oral health information, visit the American Dental Association’s Web site at: www.ada.org