In celebration of World Oral Health Day, we want to show appreciation for all the dentists that make it possible for many of us to maintain healthy teeth and gums. Most of us take for granted the ability to eat, speak, and smile without pain or embarrassment. We forget that over half the people in our world suffer from oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Dentists and their staff are indispensable to helping us keep our mouths clean. They regularly remind us that taking care of our oral hygiene is crucial to our overall health because our mouth and body are interconnected.
At Weave, we recently commissioned an independent market research firm to survey a random sample of 1,137 dental patients from around the U.S. The findings of the study were shocking in a number of ways and are a real tribute to the amount of dirty work dentists do.
Here are ten shocking ways dentists are the unsung heroes of oral health:
1. Bad Breath Is Worse Than Poverty
We think the most shocking finding of our survey is that more people think “bad breath” is a dating dealbreaker than “being broke.” Oral hygiene is obviously a central factor in not only our physical health, but our emotional health as well.
2.Food in Teeth Wrecks Pivotal Life Moments
Our survey found that at least five percent of people have had key moments in their life ruined by food stuck in their teeth. These moments include job interviews and public speaking events. They also include romantic experiences like first dates and bedroom intimacy.
Dentists not only save us from having food in our teeth further ruin our futures, but they also encourage us to maintain a level of dental hygiene that prevents food from ruining photos, job opportunities, and our personal lives.
3. Saliva Disgusts Most of Us
When it comes to saliva, there’s no such thing as a ten-second rule. Our survey showed that 77% of people say they won’t eat a piece of food on their plate if someone accidentally spits on it while talking. We can handle a bit of dirt, but spit is clearly a source of germs we’re not willing to cross.
Dentists are heroes because they fight this revulsion every single day. They’re people just like us, yet they swallow their feelings of disgust in order to provide us with the best oral hygiene possible.
4. Smiling Is Scary
Despite being one of the most natural reactions we have as humans, smiling is a tough task for many people. In fact, 50% of the people we surveyed said they avoid smiling because they don’t like their teeth. This fear makes daily social interactions much more awkward than they should be.
While they can’t change all the aspects of our smiles that make us self-conscious, dentists do everything in their power to give their patients the confidence to smile.
5. Smiling Isn’t the Window to the Soul
Another shocking fact we discovered through research is that people are three times more likely to think they have nice eyes than a nice smile. Only 28% of dental patients definitely like their smile. That means over 70% of us are going about our day-to-day business with a proverbial chip in our teeth.
Dentists try to restore our confidence in our smiles. It might be impossible for us to appreciate our teeth in the same we appreciate our eyes, but dentists are giving their all to fix our smiles.
6. People Value Straight Teeth Over White Teeth
The survey we conducted found that dental patients think it’s more important to have straight teeth than white teeth. Does this mean patients value their orthodontist over their dentist? We sure hope not!
Dentists have a thankless task. Many of us worry more about the appearance of our teeth than their actual condition. Dentists are able to see past the superficial aspects of oral hygiene and reveal the factors that actually matter to our long-term health.
7.Gross Teeth Ruin Days
Our research shows that 30% of people have had their day ruined because they walked around with something stuck in their teeth without knowing. This unhappy experience can’t always be prevented, but we know that dentists are out there trying to mitigate the damage done by food in our teeth.
A major part of dental work is educating patients. Sometimes it seems like dentists are scolding us for not brushing or flossing. What they’re really trying to do is save us from the consequences of lunch getting caught in our chompers.
8.Undetected Bad Breath
We all know how off-putting bad breath can be. However, 76% of the respondents to our survey said they’ve wondered if they have bad breath but couldn’t really tell. Our inability to catch our own stinky breath makes it difficult to avoid scaring off coworkers and loved ones with a gnarly case of gingivitis.
Dentists face the bad breath of nearly everyone that sits down in their office. They also give us the tools to keep our bad breath under control. They’re not about to let halitosis interfere with our lives.
9. The Hazards of Halitosis
Not only do most patients wonder if they have bad breath, they also have anecdotal evidence of how it impacts careers. 15% of people say they know someone who was passed over for a promotion because they have chronic bad breath.
Our dentists can’t save us from every instance of onions or garlic stinking up our conversations. Nonetheless, we appreciate them coping with the stench and teaching us to nip halitosis in the bud.
10. Oral Health Regrets
Perhaps the saddest discovery of our research is that nearly 60% of people who avoid going to the dentist regret it. Being afraid of the dentist is certainly a cliché, but that’s because this phobia affects so many people.
Dentists are heroic for helping us overcome our phobias. When we push past the feelings of avoidance brought on by fear, we realize that dentists really want us to live the healthiest life possible.
Dentists often save us from the harsh realities of bad oral health. That’s why we wanted to take the time to salute these unsung heroes. Happy World Oral Health Day!