Oral Care at the Office: A Study

Oral-B Laboratories and the Academy of General Dentistry polled more than 1,000 full-time employed adults ages 18 and older about oral care habits and the importance of a healthy smile at the workplace. Following are some highlight findings from the study:

Do you want to make a good first impression on the job? 40 percent of respondents indicated that a smile was the first thing they noticed about a person at work when given a choice between a person’s smile, eyes, clothing, or hair. An overwhelming majority — 96 percent — thought that a smile was very or somewhat important to a person’s appearance.

When asked what is least attractive about their co-workers, 42 percent of respondents cited “not smiling,” followed by 32 percent who cited “bad breath.”

Given the perceived importance of a smile, one would think workers would take care of their smile during the work day. However, more than three-quarters of respondents are eating twice or more a day at the workplace, while only 14 percent of respondents are brushing every day at work.

One way to make brushing at work a habit is to have a spare toothbrush on hand. Leaving an extra toothbrush at the office, rather than carrying one with you, increases your likelihood of brushing at work by 65 percent.
Who wouldn’t want a boss with a celebrity smile? When asked which celebrity smile they would like their boss to have, more respondents chose Tom Cruise’s smile over any other.

Women are the largest group of brushers at the office. 53 percent of women reported ever brushing at work versus 37 percent of men.

Good dental hygiene in general means better oral hygiene at work. Those who brush three or more times per day are the most likely to ever brush at work, totaling 71 percent.

Good dental hygiene was also shown to be important in the workplace, considering that virtually all respondents reported interacting with others while on the job. 83 percent of respondents interact with co-workers, and 76 percent of respondents are interacting occasionally or frequently with people outside the company, such as customers and vendors.

The “Brushing Up at the Office” Survey was commissioned by Oral-B Laboratories in conjunction with the Academy of General Dentistry and conducted by International Communications Research. A total of 1,023 full-time employed adults ages 18 and older were surveyed in April 1997.