Oral health facts your patients don't know

By Hannah Madans, DrBicuspid.com contributing writer

September 17, 2021 -- How much do your patients know about oral health? Market research platform DentaVox asked 5,551 people how their lifestyle affected their oral health. The responses weren't always accurate, especially when it came to alcohol and smoking.

"Habits such as alcohol drinking, smoking, food choices, and stress levels tremendously influence our health and teeth," the survey stated. "But how aware are people of these factors?"

The survey asked 5,551 people how their lifestyle habits -- particularly drinking, smoking, food choices, and stress -- affected their oral health.

Survey respondents -- 82% to be exact -- correctly thought that alcohol consumption can cause dry mouth. There were some misconceptions, however, about alcohol.

Roughly one-third of survey participants thought alcohol was better for teeth than Coca-Cola because of its lower sugar content. This is not the case, DentaVox said.

Alcohol damages teeth by dehydrating the mouth, staining teeth, and increasing acidity levels. In addition, many alcoholic drinks contain more sugar than Coca-Cola. One other alcohol-related myth that 22% of respondents believed is that alcohol kills bacteria and therefore eliminates dental plaque.

The added sugar content in popular drinks.
The added sugar content in popular drinks. Image courtesy of DentaVox.

When it comes to another lifestyle habit -- smoking -- and its effects on oral health, one-third of respondents said tooth discoloration was the only problem caused by smoking. However, smokers are three to six times more likely to develop gum disease than nonsmokers, and use of e-cigarettes can lead to gum disease, DentaVox said. Ninety-three percent of participants correctly pointed out that smoking can lead to oral cancer.

High levels of stress can lead to teeth grinding, something more than 80% of respondents knew. But less than half of respondents knew that chocolate washes off teeth easier than sticky candies.

Respondents, however, excelled at sorting fact from fiction when it came to oral health and food. Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables protect against cavities, something roughly 80% of survey participants recognized. Another 72% of participants correctly recognized that drinking lots of liquids is good for your teeth.

"Drinking enough fluids prevents issues like bad breath, gum problems, and cavities, as it dilutes the bacteria staying in our mouth after eating and drinking," according to DentaVox.


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