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Smile: Women Have Better Dental Habits


WebMD Health News

May 14, 2004 -- Brush up on your oral hygiene, guys. A new survey shows that women take better care of their teeth than men. They brush teeth more frequently. They even have a dentist.

The nationwide survey, from the American Dental Association, is based on telephone interviews with 1,014 adults conducted in December 2003.

Researchers found:

  • 25% of those surveyed brush their teeth after every meal, reflecting a steady increase. In 2001, that number was 15%; in 2000, it was 18%; and in 1997, it was 12%.
  • One in five -- 19% -- brush their teeth once a day (almost the same percentage as previous years).

  • 53% brush their teeth twice a day -- a drop. In 2001, it was 60%, in 2000, it was 63%, and in 1996, it was 64%.

  • Women were more likely than men to brush teeth after every meal: 29% of women vs. 21% of men.

  • Men were more likely to brush just once a day: 25% of men vs. 13% of women.

  • Women were more likely to have a dentist than men: 89% of women vs. 75% of men.

  • As for daily dental floss use, 51% use it, up slightly from 48% in 1997.

Dentists advocate a daily routine: Brush teeth twice a day and floss once (to remove trapped food particles and plaque). Also, get regular dental checkups and tooth cleanings to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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