Study Finds: Americans Need to “Brush Up” at the Office

Healthy teeth affect nearly every aspect of our lives even our professional image. However, according to a recent survey released by Academy of General Dentistry and Oral-B Laboratories, many Americans are neglecting to take care of their smile during the workday. The survey found that 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. Yet, while many respondents indicated that they are overlooking oral care at the office, the majority of respondents (40 percent) ranked “smile” as the first thing they noticed about a person at work. An overwhelming majority 96 percent thought that a smile was very or somewhat important to a person’s appearance. Furthermore, 32 percent cited “bad breath” as the least attractive trait of their co-workers. “Those meals and snacks and sugary beverages on the job can increase the likelihood of tooth decay and gum disease,” says Heidi Hausauer, DDS, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry. “That’s why it’s important to brush your teeth during the work day, in addition to after breakfast and before bedtime.” According to Dr. Hausauer, the sugars and starches in the food we eat fuel bacterial plaque, resulting in an “acid attack” on tooth enamel. While visible evidence of food may disappear, plaque bacteria continues to grow. Eventually, plaque can build up and harden into tartar. That can lead to gum irritation, gum disease, tooth detachment, and ultimately, tooth loss. “By partnering with the Academy of General Dentistry to conduct the ‘Brushing Up at the Office’ Survey, we hope to raise awareness about the necessity for better oral care habits at the office,” says Marianne Sampogna, associate product manager of Oral-B Laboratories. The Academy of General Dentistry and Oral-B Laboratories have also designated the week of June 23 as “Take Your Toothbrush To Work Week” to encourage workers to bring their toothbrushes to work and make oral care a priority during the workday. The survey, conducted by International Communications Research, also revealed that leaving an extra toothbrush at the office, rather than carrying one with you, increases your likelihood of brushing at work by 65 percent. “Leaving a toothbrush at the office and remembering to brush at work can reduce plaque build-up and keep you smiling for years,” Dr. Hausauer says.