The Gross Truth About How Often We Actually Brush Our Teeth


Sure, we know we’re SUPPOSED to brush twice a day. But how many of us really do that? (Photo: Nick Harris/Flickr)

First, we learned the truth about how often Americans really shower. Now, a new survey shows that many of us are pretty lazy when it comes to our teeth-cleaning habits.

In a poll of 562 people around the world (including 332 Americans), 49% of men and 57% of women said they brush their teeth only once a day on average, while 44% of men and 37% of women said they were twice-daily brushers. Reddit user anthonyd3ca conducted the survey, which breaks down the demographics of people surveyed here.

Related: Do Americans Shower More Or Less Than The Rest Of The World?

Experts say that brushing your teeth twice a day isn’t a novelty, but a necessity.

“It’s very important to brush in the morning to get rid of bacteria, as well as at night after a full day of eating, drinking, and accumulating plaque,” New York cosmetic dentist, Lana Rozenberg, DDS tells Yahoo Health. “Bacteria that adheres to plaque causes tooth decay and gum disease over time.”

Add to this the fact that “most people brush their teeth on the average for just 30 seconds, and that’s not nearly enough,” says Rozenberg.

Up Next: How To Make Flossing A Habit

To prevent plaque, tartar, and teeth issues like cavities, brush twice a day for a complete two minutes using a stopwatch or an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer. Be gentle yet thorough; tooth enamel can be worn down and weakened with over-aggressive pressure and abrasive formula ingredients particularly common in whitening products. Move in small circles at a 45-degree angle around each tooth for the deepest cleanse.

After brushing around the surface of teeth, be sure to move to the part where bacteria build-up is the worst: right at the gum line. When plaque and tartar compound here, gums can become swollen and infected, leading to conditions like gingivitis — or chronically inflamed gums — that can evolve into more serious periodontal diseases. “It’s also a good idea to brush your tongue, since a lot of bacteria hide in tongue crevices and can cause bad breath,” adds Rozenberg.

Related: Do You Really Need To Shower Every Day?