About ten years ago, I remember physical health being a major concern (in some cases, a trend) for many Americans. Weight-loss programs and infomercials were drowned all in my regular weekend TV watching schedule. These days, it seems like people are heavily concerned with mental health. I don’t think I can scroll through any of my social channels without seeing something related to self-care, life-work balance, or mental health seminar flyers.
Realizing this, I wondered what other health concerns people may not pay attention to as often. For months, I have been seeing ads for these teeth whitening kits all over Instagram. I personally think they are bogus and are only a temporary fix (and maybe become a future dental issue). But it was obvious that people were buying them. That made me wonder: Were people buying them already knowing how to take care of their teeth properly? Or were they really just looking for a fast fix without putting in the work? If you aren’t bored yet, keep reading to find out what I discovered when I tried to resolve this curiosity of mine.
A few weeks ago, I asked my Twitter followers one question each day relating to their oral hygiene (excluding that Thursday and Saturday). I created polls from Twitter’s polling feature and retweeted each tweet every couple of hours so that I could get to as many people as I could to answer the questions. I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing to try to keep the results as honest as possible. Of all the responses I got, only one received over 30 responses. Therefore, that one is the only “normal” result I can confidently consider (If you’ve taken a statistics course, you’ll know what I mean). To informally find out whether most people actually know how to care for their teeth, I’m going to share what medical professionalists and web sources suggest for each question I asked, and then I’m going to share the Twitter poll results.
Question 1: Do you floss daily?
WebMD’s short answer is that you should floss daily. It helps prevent gum problems and it gets areas between your teeth that your toothbrush generally cannot. Keeping that bacteria in your mouth can contribute to yellowish teeth in the long run. Also, it is suggested that you floss before you brush.
Do you floss daily?
— MRS (@MeaResea) September 16, 2018
Question 2: When was the last time you went to the dentist?
In an article posted by Colgate Oral Care and reviewed by the faculty of Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, it is generally advised that you go to the dentist about twice a year. There are several different life factors, as the article points out, that will determine the frequency of your visits including being pregnant and having a weak immune response to bacterial infection.
When was the last time you went to the dentist?
— MRS (@MeaResea) September 17, 2018
Question 3: [For] how long do you brush your teeth?
Two minutes is the recommended time for brushing according to an article published by Benefits Bridge. Additionally, the longer you brush, the more plaque you remove which is backed by the research discussed in the article.
How long do you brush your teeth?
— MRS (@MeaResea) September 18, 2018
Question 4: How often do you use mouthwash?
WebMD says to use it daily. Some other experts suggest using it twice in a 24 hour period right after brushing your teeth.
How often do you use mouthwash?
— MRS (@MeaResea) September 19, 2018
Question 5: Have you considered using a teeth whitening product, kit, or service?
Considering the answers I had received, it appeared that most people who answered knew how to care for their teeth (except for those who don’t floss daily). I wish I could say I was shocked with the answers to this question, but I know a lot of people like quick fixes these days, so I wasn’t too blown away.
Have you ever considered using a teeth whitening product, kit, or service?
— MRS (@MeaResea) September 21, 2018
The new concern that arose for me was how healthy these teeth whitening products and services were. From most of the articles I’ve seen, they are generally safe as long as you read the directions and use them as directed. But people should still consider the long-term effects which include damaging the dental enamel, causing irritation to the gums, and tooth sensitivity. Damaging the dental enamel in particular is irreversible.
What do you think of teeth whitening? Be sure to follow me on my social handles below and I’d be happy to discuss!