health & wellness lifestyle

An Inconvenient Tooth


Of all the day-to-day upkeep required of our insufferable human bodies, arguably no area is more high-maintenance than teeth. These primadonnas need to be brushed twice a day for several minutes like they’re going to be competing in the Westminster Dog Show. Flossing should happen at least once a day, even between those teeth that are harder to reach than teenagers in a D.A.R.E. program. And it is recommended to see the dentist every six months, which is even more frequent than the yearly-recommended general wellness checkup!


Given the mouth-forward nature of bodily upkeep, how well are Americans keeping up with recommended dental hygiene habits?



Most Americans brush at least twice a day (78%), floss at least once a day (76%), and visit the dentist at least once every six months (59%). Money apparently can buy dental happiness, as lower-income Americans are less likely than their wealthier counterparts to engage in the recommended amount of oral management. Or maybe they are just less ashamed to admit the truth.

Brushing is one thing, but actually doing a good job brushing is quite another, as any self-respecting dentist will tell you in that passive-aggressive tone you can’t respond to because you have eight fingers and two sharp tools in your mouth. Also, what do you think about this crazy weather?! I’ll give you a chance to respond in a few minutes.


Americans have had a median of four cavities in their lifetime, and 32% have had six or more. Luckily, we did not find a significantly higher rate of reported cavities among candy-consuming Americans, so consider your insatiable Tootsie Roll addiction enabled.*


*Gradient Metrics, LLC is not liable for any increase in tooth decay, cavities, or general mouth yuck as a result of this information. Don’t tell your dentist about this data-driven insight!