The American Dental Association (ADA) has released a new study which shows just how little Americans know about oral health. The survey was comprised of true or false questions on a variety of topics, from how many times you should brush daily to what causes cavities. The average grade scored was a D, which proved to be shocking to many experts. ADA president, William R. Calnon, DDS, admitted that he was surprised by the results and stressed how important it is for everyone to take an active role in their personal oral health. Details of the report were described in the Dental Tribune article, “Americans score a D on oral health quiz; ADA launches new website to increase knowledge.”
The survey, which was completed by approximately 1,500 adults nationwide, found the following results:
- 90% of participants believe you should brush immediately following a meal, which does not align with the ADA recommendations of twice a day.
- 65% thought it was best to replace your toothbrush twice a year, when in fact, it’s suggested at least every 3 months.
- 75% of those polled didn’t know that the ADA recommends taking a child to the dentist within 6 months of the first tooth appearance and at least by the age of 1.
- A whopping 81% believe that sugar causes cavities, when in fact it’s bacteria that feeds on sugar and produces acid that attacks enamel.
- Almost 60% also didn’t realize that those same germs can be passed between people.
It becomes extremely difficult to properly maintain good oral hygiene when individuals are unaware as to the basics of dental care.
The survey was released in conjunction with the launch of the new American Dental Association consumer website, www.MouthHealthy.org, where people can access information about prevention, care, and treatments associated with oral health. The website is organized according to age ranges and includes information about the most common dental symptoms, what to do in the event of a dental emergency, a complete list of oral health topics, and how to find ADA member dentists and approved products. There are also videos, tip and activities for all ages, including a video series featuring Sesame Street characters to help educate kids. According to Calnon, the website is meant to provide credible oral health information to the public, which according to the survey results, most individuals need.