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How Often Do You Brush?
You may be one of millions who are not fans of going to the dentist. October marks National Dental Hygiene month.
Kellie Holmin is at Dr. Andrew Boyer's Dentist Office in Springfield. She's getting her teeth cleaned. Her dental hygiene routine?
"I brush at least three to four times a day and I floss before I go to bed at night," Holmin said.
Kellie isn't shy of going to the dentist, going twice a year, but millions are. According to the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, an estimated 9 to 15 percent of Americans avoid seeing the dentist because of anxiety and fear.
"I think people make dentistry sound worse than it is," Holmin said.
If you think missing a cavity or a cleaning isn't a big deal, think again. Studies show good oral health can improve your overall health. For example, a lack of good dental hygiene can lead to inflammation of the gums.
"If that progresses further, you'll get bone loss around the teeth, the teeth will become loose, and at that point we have no other option than to take them out," Boyer said.
Boyer also says you should brush at least twice a day and, as much as you might hate it, floss.
"Flossing, you are able to go a little bit under the gum line and get the plaque your toothbrush may have missed, and it minimizes inflammation of the gums to prevent bleeding," Boyer said.
Beyond your health, nice teeth can make for some good first impressions.
"The smile and eye," Holmin said. "Those are the two main features."
The American Association of Orthodontists estimates up to 80 percent of adolescents have braces. According to the American Dental Hygienist Association, nearly 75 percent of American adults suffer from various forms of gum disease and don't know it.