National public opinion survey reveals findings on oral health-care perceptions

Oct. 20, 2008
Public speaks up on oral health care in an ADA and Crest/Oral-B survey that is unveiled at the American Dental Association's annual session.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas--The American Dental Association, in collaboration with Crest and Oral-B, has revealed findings from a national public opinion survey on oral health care.

Here is a look at the key learnings:

1. While eight of 10 Americans say taking care of one's mouth, teeth and gums is "absolutely needed," only one-third of them say they do an "excellent" job taking care of them.

2. One parent in four says his or her kids do only a "fair" or "poor" job taking care of their own mouth, teeth and gums.

3. Americans deem the smile the most important physical attribute but do not realize a beautiful smile is not always a healthy smile and can mask underlying oral health problems. More than one in three Americans say:

* They think a little bleeding from brushing is normal (33%), yet it's not. It could be a sign of gum disease or something even worse.

* They are unaware that periodontal disease needs to be treated and cannot be left alone (33%).

* They don't know that poor oral health has been associated with serious health conditions such as stroke, heart disease and diabetes (37%).

"This survey helps dentists understand opinions their patients may not be sharing, opinions that provide an opportunity to address perception versus reality when it comes to oral health," said Ada Cooper, DDS, consumer advisor for the ADA and a practicing dentist in New York.

"These findings further strengthen our dedication to helping all Americans achieve good oral health through the products and education we offer," said Leslie Winston, DDS, PhD, director of Professional and Scientific Relations, Procter & Gamble Oral Care Research Center. "We are happy to provide a united front with the ADA to help combat these societal issues."

This survey presents the findings of a nationally representative survey of 1,000 Americans ages 18 and older who live in the continental United States. The national survey of Americans focused on the following areas:

* The public's perceptions of their oral health care, with a special focus on African Americans, Hispanics and lower-income Americans

* Americans' knowledge of effective and essential oral health care habits

* Oral health habits among the nation's youth

* The psychological benefits of a healthy smile

For access to the survey, log on to dental care or ADA.

To read more about the ADA, go to ADA.

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