Do You Know Your OQ?

You might know your IQ and EQ, and now we want the world to Know Your OQ — your oral health quotient — because oral health is connected to overall health and wellbeing in ways most people don’t know.

Your healthier future STARTS with a healthy mouth.

The most common disease in the world is right under our nose — cavities.

Cavities are permanently damaged areas on the hard surface of your teeth that develop into tiny openings or holes — and they’re causing major problems.
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Periodontal disease affects about 20-50% of the global population.

It’s one of the major causes of tooth loss, and its high prevalance in adults, children, and seniors makes it a public health concern. Periodontal disease can compromise chewing ability, esthetics, self-confidence, and quality of life.
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Oral disease can increase the risk of other health conditions

Oral diseases like periodontal diseases are linked to…
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
  • Alzheimer’s
A young boy grinning with missing front teeth.
Your Healthier Future Starts With Oral Health.

Oral health is linked to mental health issues in children.

Cavities are the #1 disease among children, and this has a significant impact on children's mental health, self-esteem and overall well being.

The combination of tobacco and alcohol use dramatically increases the risk of oral cancer.

Most people with oral cancers have a history of smoking or other tobacco exposure, like chewing tobacco. The more you smoke, the greater your risk. Smoke from cigarettes, pipes, and cigars all increase your risk of getting these cancers.

The mortality rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma, testicular cancer, and many others.

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    If oral cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the overall 5-year survival rate for all people is 85%.

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    About 29% of oral and oropharyngeal cancers are diagnosed at this stage.

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    If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes, the overall 5-year survival rate is 57%.

Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of bad breath.

1 in 4 people have bad breath — also referred to as halitosis — on a regular basis. When food particles are stuck between your teeth or elsewhere in your mouth, they get broken down by bacteria that grow there, releasing a foul smell.
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A big ol' grin

1 in 4 people have bad breath on a regular basis.

What can you do to prevent cavities, gum disease and bad breath?

Early detection and prevention can help stop diseases from progressing. Follow these thirteen tips to promote your oral health and healthier future.
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Brush your teeth

Brush your teeth at least twice daily for 2 minutes with a fluoride-based toothpaste to prevent cavities.

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Develop healthy routines

Incorporate brushing into your bedtime routine to get rid of the germs and plaque that accumulate throughout the day. This is especially important because when you sleep at night our mouths are drier, which makes bacteria in the mouth even more harmful.

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Choose a connected toothbrush

Brush your teeth properly using circular motions to remove plaque on all tooth surfaces. You can use powered and connected technologies to help guide you for the most effective tooth brushing. Unremoved plaque can harden, leading to calculus buildup and gingivitis (early gum disease) which can progress to more advanced forms of the disease such as periodontitis, if not addressed.

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Floss your teeth daily

Floss your teeth at least once daily to clean in between your teeth. Flossing can be difficult, especially for young children and older adults with arthritis. Rather than give up, look for tools that can help you floss your teeth such as ready-to-use dental flossers and other aids for interproximal cleaning including water flossers.

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Use mouthwash

Consider using mouthwashes as directed. Mouthwash helps in numerous ways depending on the active ingredients in the formula. It also helps you to reach hard-to-brush areas in and around the gums. In children and older people, where the ability to brush and floss may not be optimal, a mouthwash is particularly helpful. Ask your dentist for specific mouthwash recommendations.

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Brush your tongue

Gently brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth to remove plaque or germs that accumulate on your tongue, and if necessary use tongue cleaners.

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Drink lots of water

Keep your mouth hydrated by drinking lots of water, which continues to be the best beverage for your overall health, including your oral health. Water along with saliva can help wash out some of the negative effects of sticky and acidic foods and beverages in between brushing.

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Follow a healthy diet

Limit your sugar intake and follow a healthy diet. Sugar is converted into acids in the mouth, which can then erode the enamel of your teeth. These acids are what lead to cavities. Fluoride in toothpastes is there to strengthen the enamel and to make it more resistant to tooth decay. Acidic fruits, carbonated beverages, teas, and coffee can also wear down tooth enamel leading to erosion.

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Stop using tobacco products

Stop smoking and using tobacco products and limit intake of alcoholic beverages in order to reduce your risk for bad breath, gum diseases and most importantly oral cancers.

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Keep your diabetes under control

If you have diabetes, keep your diabetes under control to prevent and better manage periodontal diseases and cavities.

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Promote oral health education for children

If you are a teacher, caregiver, or school administrator, use resources like Colgate’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures to promote oral health education for children. Bright Smiles, Bright Futures uses a proven curriculum now offered online and in 30 languages to enable children to practice proper oral care and build healthy habits early.

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Help those in need

When acting as a caregiver, help younger and older individuals and those with disabilities to brush and floss their teeth if they are not able to perform these activities independently.

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Visit your dentist or hygienist!

Your own everyday habits are crucial to your overall oral health. Still, even the best brushers and flossers need to see a dentist regularly. At minimum, you should see your dentist/hygienist for cleanings and checkups annually, ideally twice a year. A professional will remove calculus or tartar build up that you can’t remove at home, look for cavities and periodontal disease, conduct an oral cancer examination, spot potential issues early on, and offer preventive strategies and treatment solutions.

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What should you look for in an oral health product?

All of your oral health products should be safe and effective in helping to prevent oral diseases and maintain great oral health. Here are some specifics to pay attention to:
Oral Care
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    Fluoride is one of the more important elements to look for. Fluoride remains a mainstay in oral health. This is because fluoride is a leading defense against tooth decay. It provides a protective barrier for your teeth. There are many other ingredients in toothpastes to improve whitening, to address sensitivity, and to reduce gum diseases but fluoride is currently the only active ingredient recognized by the U.S. FDA to reduce the risk of cavities.

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    Mouthwashes can contain fluoride to help prevent cavities or other ingredients like Cetylpyridinium Chloride (CPC) to prevent and better manage gum diseases and bad breath and Chlorhexidine (CHX) to reduce bacteria in the mouth during rinsing.

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    From manual to battery powered to rechargeable powered brushes. More recently, connected technologies empower people to get the most out of brushing by increasing the frequency and time spent brushing as well as the surfaces covered when brushing. Connected technologies can also have augmented reality games to engage young children and make brushing more fun than ever before.

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    For Children

    Seek out your preferred toothpaste flavor to make it more appealing and find a fun kids flavor that will have your children rushing to brush.

Know the signs and symptoms

Many common oral diseases lack early signs and symptoms, and may have progressed substantially before becoming apparent to people who have them. Periodontal disease is often a silent disease. This is why seeing a dental professional is necessary for the most accurate assessment.

Do you know where to seek help and how to determine your oral health status?

Already have a dentist? Great! If not, there are many ways to find help in your community and there are services available to all if you seek them out.

Want more?

Looking for more information about how to take care of your oral health and promote your overall wellbeing? Colgate, the world’s #1 branded online oral health resource, has you covered. Sign up for updates to empower your brighter, healthier future.

Share Your OQ

Spread the message that oral health is the gateway to overall health and wellbeing. Share your OQ score to empower your community to take the assessment and Know Their OQ. Together, we can reimagine a brighter, healthier future for all.