When it comes to oral hygiene routines, most people say they practice good habits by brushing twice a day – once in the morning and once at night before bed. Brushing after every meal, even after lunch at work, would contribute to greater oral health, but a survey by the Academy of General Dentistry revealed many people are neglecting their smiles during the workday.
The survey, conducted by International Communications and commissioned by the AGD and Oral-B Laboratories, polled more than 1,000 full-time employed adults and found that only 14 percent of those surveyed brushed their teeth at work daily despite more than three-quarters of them eating twice or more at the workplace each day.
“Those meals and snacks and sugary beverages on the job can increase the likelihood of tooth decay and gum disease,” said AGD spokesperson Heidi Hausauer, DDS. “That’s why it’s important to brush your teeth during the workday, in addition to after breakfast and before bedtime.”
The survey also found 96 percent of respondents thought a smile was somewhat or very important to a person’s appearance, increasing the importance of good oral hygiene
Benefits of brushing at work
People typically spend a third of each weekday at work, so eating at some point, whether it’s lunch or snacking throughout the day, is inevitable. Without proper care, the buildup of sugars and starches on teeth can sit for hours until people brush their teeth before bed. The remnants of those workday snacks can elevate the chances of tooth decay and gum disease.
The key to a healthy smile is removing plaque before it has a chance to build up and cause problems. Brushing after lunch is a simple change that can help do that. It starts by leaving a toothbrush in the office, which increases the likelihood of daytime brushing by 65 percent.
“Leaving a toothbrush at the office and remembering to brush at work can reduce plaque buildup and keep you smiling for years,” Dr. Hausauer said.
Brushing can also help get rid of bad breath, such as that resulting from a cup of coffee or onion-laden lunch. Good oral hygiene is especially important since 80 percent of respondents said they interact with others co-workers and 76 percent said they work with people from outside the company. In addition, 32 percent of respondents cited bad breath as their co-workers’ least attractive trait.
Tips on remembering how to brush more often
Brushing during the workday is not a common habit, so working it into your day may take some adjustment. Here are some times to make remembering to brush easier:
- Setting an alarm in your work calendar or phone
- Brushing right after lunch before you become engrossed in your work again
- Leave a sticky note somewhere prominent in your workspace
- Store your toothbrush and/or toothpaste in a convenient spot
Brushing at work is a good step to improving dental health, but also make sure to floss at least once daily and make an appointment with the Fitzgerald Dental Center for a full dental cleaning.