Did you know that your job could have an effect on your oral health? I never really thought of it before, but when I pondered the question myself, I thought, sure, there are plenty of jobs that influence your mouth. I’m sure professional hockey players carry quite a bit of dental insurance. Models and entertainment celebrities probably spend quite a bit of money and effort on the appearance of their teeth. Maybe even those amazing acrobats who use their teeth to support their body weight while flying high above crowds in Cirque de Soleil shows in Las Vegas invest more time and energy into their oral health. But work certainly doesn’t affect the oral health of those of us who work mundane, run-of-the-mill office jobs, right? Not true, claims a recent study conducted in the United Kingdom. According to a Dental Tribune International article, office workers are in fact at the most risk for displaying poor oral health.
The survey was conducted by the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programme, an initiative led by the chewing gum manufacturer that is aimed at improving oral health in general, and included 175 dentists and dental hygienists and 1,000 UK adults ages 16 and up. The data suggested that those who snack throughout the day, as opposed to eating three square meals, are more at risk for complications due to poor oral health. It is believed that snacking prevents the pH levels in the mouth from stabilizing, causing increased exposure to acids from foods and beverages more often in the day. Through the survey, researchers deduced that approximately 40% of office workers tend to snack rather than consume three proper meals. Additionally, almost 80% of dental professionals believe that general oral hygiene practices (i.e. brushing twice a day, flossing regularly, and visiting the dentist) are neglected. More than 20% of office workers admitted to skipping the morning brush as they rush to work, with many more claiming to not have time to floss. So while there are obviously occupations in the world that demand special oral health attention, it’s the not-so-obvious careers that are actually influenced the most; interesting. It just goes to show how important a good oral hygiene routine is. Perhaps another worthwhile initiative could be to install toothbrush, paste, and floss vending machines into office restrooms around the world. Just a thought.