Millennials get a lot of flack because they’re assumed to be the “lazy” generation, or the “entitled” generation, and normally, I’m quick to defend my title as a millennial because I pride myself on being the furthest from lazy, and nowhere near entitled. But guys, new research shows many millennials are doing the bare minimum — when it comes to brushing their teeth, at least, and I'm shook. Is it OK to brush your teeth once a day for the sake of saving yourself, oh, I don’t know, three minutes at most, or do millennials just not give a sh*t about dental hygiene? Personally, I was always taught to brush morning and night, but apparently, a chunk of my generation is choosing one or the other for some reason.
How many people aren’t following standard brushing protocol, you ask? Fox News reports that based on a survey issued by oral care start-up company Hello Products, 30 percent of 2,000 participants only brush once a day. And if those numbers don’t concern you, trust me, it gets worse.
According to the research, on average, people are going two days at a time without brushing their teeth once, and this kind of neglect could result in disaster.
After hearing that fun fact, who’s surprised that 62 percent of those surveyed said they felt more “afraid” of the dentist than public speaking? Anyone? Bueller?
What’s more, according to Fox News, 33 percent of people surveyed by Hello Products said they’d rather abstain from sex for an entire month than have to undergo some sort of dental procedure — which, in my opinion, sounds a wee bit dramatic.
For the record, I am certainly not at liberty to point fingers at anyone for doing this. There have been many a night I’ve gotten home late from an event, or was feeling too tired to spend time at the sink brushing when I could easily make a beeline for my bedroom and snooze. Slipping up every once in a while is forgivable, but when bad oral hygiene becomes a legitimate habit you've picked up, that’s when you really have a problem.
To put it into perspective, Prevention painted a lovely picture of what really happens when you don't brush twice a day: In short, bacteria and plaque make themselves comfortable in between and on top of your teeth and gums over time. Before you know it, everything you're eating or drinking is contributing to this build-up. You might get lucky and only have to deal with raging bad breath every morning, but worse case scenario: Your teeth become sensitive to brushing in general, causing gums to bleed, tooth decay, and maybe even gum disease.
Brushing doesn't even guarantee all of the bacteria in your mouth gets ousted, so it's really important you stick to brushing twice a day.
Haven't you ever wondered why your dentist tells you to floss regularly, gargle with mouthwash on the reg, or why there's even such a thing as tongue scraping? This is all because brushing your teeth isn't the end-all-be-all of oral hygiene, but it's still really important.
Lee Gause, DDS, of Smile Design Manhattan told Reader's Digest that even if you diligently brush your teeth twice a day, every day, you're still missing "75 percent of your mouth, leaving millions of germs behind," which is why he suggests patients follow a "three-step defense" that includes "brushing, flossing, and swishing with an antiseptic mouth rinse like Listerine twice a day."
Now, if you're already not on top of brushing your teeth more than once a day, Dr. Gause's demands might just turn you off to the whole idea of oral care even more. But hey, think about it this way: His three-step defense is probably faster than any 11-step skincare routine you might indulge in every night. Consider this your friendly reminder that oral hygiene is just as important as skin health.
Bottom line: Brushing your teeth once a day isn't going to cut it.
Sorry not sorry, millennials, but I'm going to have to suggest you get out of this funk and commit to brushing your teeth twice a day, every day, just like they taught you in preschool.
Set a timer on your phone, leave sticky notes on your bathroom mirror — do whatever it is you need to do to get back on track. Seriously, oral hygiene is no joke, and I think you'd rather squeeze in six minutes a day to brush than put your pearly whites at risk.