Survey shows Americans need more information on the consequences of poor oral health maintenance

SAN ANTONIO The American Dental Association, working with Crest and Oral-B oral hygiene product makers, yesterday released the results of a nationwide survey of patients on oral health topics.

The survey spanned about a thousand people ages 18 and older, with special emphasis on African Americans, Hispanics and lower-income households to find out the general public’s level of knowledge on the importance of good oral health care habits.

“This survey helps dentists understand opinions their patients may not be sharing, opinions that provide an opportunity to address perception versus reality when it comes to oral health,” Ada Cooper, D.D.S., consumer advisor for the ADA and a practicing dentist in New York, said.

Findings showed that about 80 percent of those surveyed Americans said that oral health care, is “absolutely needed,” but only one-third of the respondents said that they do an “excellent” with their personal oral health maintenance.

The survey reported that about one-third of Americans think “a little bleeding from brushing is normal,” though it could be a sign of gum disease or more serious problems. Of the parents surveyed, about one in four said that his or her children do a “fair” or “poor” job of caring for their mouth, teeth and gums.

About one-third said they did not know about the seriousness of periodontal disease, and that it needs immediate attention. And, a little more than one-third (37 percent) said that they didn’t know of a connection between poor oral health and other serious chronic diseases and potentially life threatening events, such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

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