Has this happened to you: you’re at your favorite restaurant, getting ready to bite into a nice, juicy burger. Only, instead of getting a mouth full of juicy meat, lettuce, and tomatoes, all your teeth fall out. Or maybe you have something important to say, perhaps a big, public speech, but instead of speaking, you stop because your teeth are all falling out.
So, maybe these things haven’t happened to you in real life, but maybe in a dream, or, rather, a nightmare. If so, then you’re not alone. It turns out that having our teeth rot or fall out is the most common subject of nightmares. A new poll shows that about a quarter of all Americans have this nightmare.
Unfortunately, the poll also showed that many Americans are on their way to making that nightmare come true because they don’t see the dentist regularly enough for checkups.
Bad Breath Is a Serious Issue
The poll didn’t just look at nightmares, but at many real-world problems people face with their oral health. One of these is bad breath. The poll asked several questions about bad breath.
Almost all Americans surveyed (91%) agreed that it was important not to have bad breath. In fact, most people (69%) thought it was very important to not have bad breath.
It’s hard to know why people believed this was the case (the study didn’t ask), but we do know that a significant number of people (26%) said they had chosen not to socialize with people who have bad breath. However, it’s also possible that people are thinking about their oral health, since bad breath is a common sign of gum disease and other oral health problems.
Bright Smiles Also Matter
Pollsters also included questions about the appearance of our smiles and what we had done to maintain them. Three-quarters of Americans (75%) said that it was important to have a bright, shiny smile. And almost as many (71%) have tried to whiten their teeth.
This is an area where men and women disagree a little bit. While 80% of women think a bright smile is important, only 70% of men do. And it makes sense, then, that more women would have tried to whiten teeth than men (76% vs. 65%, respectively).
And how are people trying to whiten their smile? The most common approach is whitening toothpaste, which 58% of Americans say they have tried. Unfortunately, this is probably the worst type of whitening to try. Many of these are very abrasive. Although they might work in the short term, they can cause serious damage to teeth if they’re used for too long.
We Need to See the Dentist More Often
With the importance people put on avoiding bad breath and maintaining beautiful teeth, you would think that comparable amounts of people would prioritize seeing the dentist. Not so. In this poll, only 52% of people reported seeing their dentist in the last year. Since twice-yearly dental appointments are recommended, this shows that far fewer people are seeing their dentist even half as much as they should. And some people aren’t seeing their dentist enough at all–17% of respondents said that they hadn’t been to their dentist in even the last five years!
But it isn’t just preventive care where people are failing to see their dentist. Even though in-office teeth whitening is more effective than whitening toothpaste or over-the-counter gels, only 7% of respondents said they’d tried it.
For people to have a truly beautiful and healthy smile, we need to see the dentist more often.
If You Want a Bright, Healthy Smile
Are you unhappy with the appearance or health of your smile? If so, let the professionals help brighten and maintain your smile.