Healthy habits getting brushed aside?

May 30, 2002
Americans need to brush up on oral health, according to the new Mentadent Smart Mouth Survey.

Healthy Habits Get Brushed Aside. Americans need to brush up on oral health, according to the new Mentadent Smart Mouth Survey.* The national survey provides a snapshot of daily dental habits and reveals that most adults in this country need a refresher course on oral hygiene. According to the survey, two out of three (67%) adults do not know or do not practice proper brushing techniques ? a habit that may be far riskier than they realize.

Minding Your Mouth.
While many adults today admit to being blase brushers, research suggests new important health reasons to join the ranks of the "orally obsessed" ? those who brush and floss religiously, and actually look forward to going to the dentist.

Good brushing habits are not simply about preventing cavities, they may also be about preventing disease. Here's what Americans had to say about their knowledge, preferences and habits related to oral hygiene.

Freshen Up on the Facts
- Nearly one-third (30%) of respondents consider themselves a "smart mouth" ? someone who knows all of the proper brushing recommendations and techniques and follows them routinely.

- Most Americans (61%) fall into the "middle-of-the-mouth" category ? someone who knows some proper brushing recommendations and techniques but only follows them half of the time.

- About one in 10 (7%) admit to being a "blase brusher" ? someone who doesn't know the proper brushing recommendations and techniques and tries to do the bare minimum required.

- About one-third (32%) brush their teeth only once a day, which dental health professionals say is insufficient to adequately remove plaque and bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. Dentists and hygienists recommend brushing twice a day.

- When people walk out the door, they often leave their oral hygiene habits at home. Most of the respondents (81%) do not bring their toothbrush to work, school or a restaurant. Only 14 percent brush their teeth during the day at work.

- Some people have gone long stretches of time without brushing their teeth. For example, 34 percent of Americans have gone one to three days without using their toothbrush.

- Twenty percent of Americans are driven to brush to avoid the stigma of bad breath, whereas only 18 percent are motivated to brush to prevent periodontal or gum disease ? a potentially serious problem that impacts three out of four Americans.

- Almost three-fourths (71%) of Americans are less likely to date or marry someone who has bad teeth or a bad smile.

- Only 23 percent of Americans would throw a toothbrush away if it fell on the floor.

*Source: Impulse Research Corporation conducted the Mentadent Smart Mouth Survey of 2,500 men and women on behalf of Mentadent. The random sample closely matches the U.S. population demographics. The sampling error for this survey is +/-2% at the 95% level of confidence.