Despite the fact that oral decay has run rampant, Americans are more concerned with germs on their hands than their mouths, according to a recent report from the makers of LISTERINE® Antiseptic and REACH® brand.
The study shows that only 66% of people worry about germs in their mouths, but nearly 80% of Americans are concerned about germs on their hands. This may be one reason why the World Health Organization reports anywhere from 60-90% of adults and teens have tooth decay.
Importance of Dental Care
Poor dental health has been shown to potentially cause several chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lung disease and even oral cancer. Taking care of your mouth has more long-term effects than just ensuring pretty teeth! Even so, the study shows that only 1/3 of respondents floss OR use mouthwash in the morning (and some may have stretched the truth a little…), and less than 50% even see a dentist twice yearly for the recommended checkups.
The Medical News Today article said this about people’s perception of their dental health:
Beyond the potential health risks, many survey respondents said they have missed activities including eating favorite foods (37 percent), smiling in photographs (33 percent), sleep (19 percent), kissing loved ones (15 percent) and work (10 percent) because of dental problems such as tooth pain, cavities and gingivitis. A social stigma may also exist, as those with poor oral health were viewed by nearly 40 percent or more respondents as untidy.
Regardless of the reasons to take care of your mouth, however compelling they are, the majority of those surveyed still stated more concern over washing their hands and touching germ-laden objects. Both are important, so don’t stop washing your hands, but closer attention to oral health could help prevent a lot of expensive, painful problems in the future.
How to Take Care of Your Teeth
Brushing twice daily is only the bare minimum for proper dental upkeep. Make your dentist proud and start flossing every day, because brushing doesn’t even touch the surfaces in between your teeth. Plaque can build up in those spaces and start decaying your enamel even if you’re an avid brusher. Swishing with mouthwash once daily finishes the job, reaching the last little spaces that your toothbrush and floss might not touch.
No matter how well you take care of your teeth, you still need to visit a dentist 1-2 times a year for a checkup. A dental professional can identify signs of a problem far better than you can, and catching it early may be the key to an affordable minor procedure rather than risking your tooth and your wallet by waiting. The study showed that 41% of respondents avoided regular preventive dental visits because of financial issues, and 44% because they didn’t have dental insurance. One thing is for sure – dentistry is expensive these days!
However, you shouldn’t have to miss seeing a dentist because of finances. Seeing a dentist early can save you a lot of money in the long run, and a dental discount plan from 1Dental.com can make the cost of seeing a dentist a lot more manageable (Give us a call at 1-800-372-7615 if you have any questions about how a discount plan works, or visit 1Dental.com).
Which concerns you more: germs in your mouth or on your hands?