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Survey finds shortcomings in oral health habits

October 20, 2014 Nearly seven out of 10 Americans brush their teeth at least twice a day. However, that means more than 30 percent aren't brushing enough, according to a survey released Sept. 23 by Delta Dental.

Most Americans do it twice a day — once at bedtime and once after getting up in the morning — for an average of one minute and fifty-two seconds, according to the Delta Dental Oral Health and Well-Being Survey. The American Dental Association recommends brushing for two minutes, twice a day.

African-Americans brush 18 seconds longer than Americans as a whole, while younger adults ages 18 to 24 spend 16 seconds longer than average brushing. Nearly six of 10 Americans brush their teeth at bedtime and as soon as they wake up in the morning, while 38 percent brush after breakfast. About 17 percent brush after lunch, and 21 percent brush after dinner.

Unfortunately, 23 percent of Americans have gone two or more days without brushing their teeth in the past year. Nearly 37 percent of adults ages 18 to 24 have gone that long without brushing.

Flossing is another area that could use some improvement, according to the survey. Only four of 10 Americans floss at least once a day, and 20 percent never floss. The survey showed a strong relationship between flossing daily and reporting good oral health.

For more results from the Delta Dental Oral Health and Well-Being Survey, visit