Women Smile Big in Survey
Sink your teeth into these stats.

Say “cheese,” women of the Triangle. Our gender outclasses men in a survey spearheaded by the American Dental Association, the nonprofit group that represents the nation’s dentists.

The poll of 1,000 Americans ages 18 and older finds 86 percent of women brush their teeth twice or more a day, yet only 66 percent of men do so.

The survey also reveals that women, on average, change their toothbrush or power toothbrush head every three to four months (the ADA’s recommendation since worn bristles decrease cleaning effectiveness). Men hang on to theirs an average of five months.

But even women have a way to go on the flossing front. All Americans need to do a better job with this daily requirement, the association says. Only half of those surveyed say they floss their teeth once a day or more.

It’s not just about flashing pearly whites. Oral health is an integral part of overall health, the ADA notes. Regular dental check-ups are important not only to diagnose and treat gum disease and tooth decay, but also because some disorders, such as oral cancer, have symptoms that can appear in the mouth.
Growing research indicates there may be an association between the well being of your chops and serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, underscoring the importance of good 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.”

The survey, which was also funded by Crest and Oral B, finds that the smile outranks eyes, hair and the body as the most attractive physical feature.

Here are more key points from the research:
• One out of three people think a little blood in the sink after brushing their teeth is normal, yet it’s not — it could signal gum disease or another problem.

• The same number is unaware that periodontal disease must be treated and don’t know that poor oral health has been associated with serious conditions such as stroke.

• One parent in four believes his or her kids do only a “fair” or “poor” job taking care of their own traps in between visits from the Tooth Fairy.

• While eight of 10 Americans say tending to one’s mouth, teeth and gums is “absolutely needed,” only one-third of them say they do an “excellent” job of it.