Four Ways to Take Better Care of Your Smile

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Saying Americans have a complicated relationship with the dentist is an understatement.

From repulsion to laziness to downright terror, our feelings on going to get our teeth cleaned are a decidedly mixed. Some of us don’t mind being poked and prodded with cold metal instruments, and some of us have full-on phobias about the very thought of being subjected to that. Somewhere in the middle, though, is the general dentist we’ve come to know over the past few years to be our first line of defense against lasting smile damage. But there are a few things your dentist wish you knew before you ever make an appointment to plop down in his or her examination chair:

Thirty million Americans have lost teeth in the United States.

For reference, there are currently nearly 314 million people living in the U.S., which means about 9% of the entire population have lost some of their smiles. Now, there are a number of reasons for these, and typically it depends on the age of the person in question. For example:

  • Younger people tend to lose teeth in accidents, fights and sport-related injuries.
  • Older people tend to lose teeth due to gum disease or long-term poor oral hygiene.

Barely 60% of Americans over 65 went to the dentist last year.

No matter which way you look at the data, that’s not a very good percentage. The longer you continue to see your general dentist, the longer you’ll likely keep the natural teeth inside your mouth. But even the best dentist can’t do everything for you. In fact, good oral care has to start right at home.

Americans drop over a billion dollars on oral care products every year.

Toothbrushes? We’re talking nearly $2 billion. Toothpaste? Try $775 million. And that’s not even counting all the whitening strips and other accessories we locate at the corner store in our darkest hours of desperation. So how could it be that we’re still in such frequent need of dental root canals, cavity fillings and other general dentist procedures? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that…

Americans eat around 130 pounds of sugar each year.

Of course, we all have sweet teeth from time to time. But it’s important to keep those cravings in check before we end up back in the dentist’s chair far sooner than we wanted to be. If you’re sick of making emergency dental appointments for searing toothaches, cut out the sugar and start brushing and flossing more frequently. You just might be surprised how much better your smiles feels — and looks. See this reference for more.

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