Does this sound familiar? You start to take a bite out a crispy apple or corn on the cob, only instead of getting a mouth full of kernels, you get a mouth full of teeth as they all start to fall out. Or perhaps you’re on a date and when you smile or speak, your teeth start falling out. These obviously aren’t real-life situations, but they are a common nightmare. It’s said that losing teeth is, in fact, the most common nightmare. Now a new poll backs that up, showing that about a quarter of Americans have had a nightmare where their teeth are rotting or fall out.
But that’s not all the survey showed. It showed what we were doing to maintain the health and beauty of our teeth, which, unfortunately, didn’t include seeing the dentist for a regular checkup.
Bad Breath Is a Serious Issue
One of the other questions that the survey asked about was how people felt about bad breath. First, it asked people how important it was to them to not have bad breath. In this area, the response was clear: 91% said that it was important to not have bad breath, with 69% saying it was “very important.” Women were more likely to say that it was very important (75% vs. 63%), but they’re in close agreement that it’s important (89% vs 93%). This is good, because bad breath is a potential indicator of oral health. If you have bad breath, you could be suffering from gum disease.
And it’s no wonder that people think this is important. A significant portion of adults (26%) have chosen not to socialize with someone who has bad breath.
Bright Smiles Also Matter
The poll also asked people about how important they thought it was to have a bright, shiny smile. Overall, 75% of Americans think this is important, although it’s much more important to women (80%) than to men (70%). It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that although most Americans try to whiten their teeth, women are much more likely to try it than men. Overall, 71% of us have tried to whiten our teeth, including 76% of women and 65% of men.
By far the most common approach to whitening is to use a whitening toothpaste, which 58% of the people in the poll said they’d tried. This is unfortunate, because whitening toothpastes can be damaging. Many of them are highly abrasive, which can seem to whiten the teeth because they’re scraping away the stained enamel. However, in the long term the effect can be to yellow the teeth as the dentin underneath becomes more visible.
We Need to See the Dentist More Often
Given how important we believe it is to avoid bad breath and have a shiny smile, you’d think we also wanted to see the dentist regularly. However, this poll shows that people aren’t actually seeing the dentist as often as they should. The poll showed that only 52% of respondents had been to the dentist in the last year. Since we’re supposed to see the dentist twice a year, this is an unacceptable shortfall, especially when 17% of respondents had been more than five years since seeing a dentist. And the shortcoming doesn’t just come in terms of regular preventive visits. It also comes in terms of cosmetic treatments: only 7% have tried in-office teeth whitening.
We’d all have brighter, healthier smiles, if we let the professionals take care of us.
If You Want a Bright, Healthy Smile
Are you concerned about your oral health? Want to make sure your nightmares don’t become real? Do you desire the benefits of a bright, healthy smile?