Smile: Women Have Better Dental Habits

Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on May 14, 2004

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.