releases inaugural 2019 State of The American Mouth Report, platform launch  

Earlier this week,, a dental health hub designed to help people get the best dental care possible, commissioned a survey conducted online by The Harris Poll: its inaugural State of the American Mouth Report, revealing American views and behaviors toward oral and dental care, habits, and priorities.

“Despite the clear link between oral health and overall health — including conditions related to our heart, brain, gut, kidneys, and others — people still don’t make dental care a priority,” said Brian McCarthy, Executive Vice President,

“It’s shocking that more than 50 percent of adults have not seen a dentist in the past year[1] and nearly 30 percent have untreated tooth decay[2], potentially harming their vital organs in the long term. While social platforms may have made your smile more important than ever, people aren’t looking beyond the photo to truly care for their oral — and overall — health.”  

The 2019 State of the American Mouth Report reveals that Americans are a lot of talk and no action when it comes to their dental care. Findings include:


Swipe Left on a Crooked Grill

Turns out, bad teeth can send the right or wrong message, whether in the boardroom or the bedroom.

  • Nearly 9 in 10 Americans (87%) agree that bad teeth can have a negative impact on a person’s personal and professional life.
    • Speaking from experience? Older Americans (55+) were more likely to agree with this than millennials (18-34):
      • 65+: 90%
      • 55-64: 91%
      • 45-54: 84%
      • 35-44: 87%
      • 18-34: 84%
  • Nearly half of Americans would end a relationship if their partner had bad breath (46%) or avoid spending time with a friend with bad breath 44%).
  • About two-thirds of Americans (67%) would reject someone on a dating app if their pictures showed they had bad teeth.
    • Women (70%) were more likely to agree with this than men (65%)
    • Fewer Millennials 18-34 (64%) agreed with this than other age groups:
      • 65+: 72%
      • 55-64: 68%
      • 45-54: 65%
      • 35-44: 71%


Millennials Equate Better Teeth with Better Sex, Study Finds

While millennials may not be as quick to swipe left on bad teeth, they are most likely to associate good teeth with good sex. The ability to take care of oneself is a turn on for the generation who popularized the phrase ‘adulting is hard’; with over two in five (43%) of those aged 18-34 agreeing that people with nice teeth are better in bed, compared to 28 percent of those aged 35+:

  • A third of Americans overall (33%) agreed with this
  • Men are more likely to agree than women (37% vs 29%, respectively)


Car love > tooth love

While oral care and good teeth were found to affect one’s perception on everything from work to sex, more Americans have taken care of their cars than their teeth in the past six months.

  • More Americans have had car maintenance done (62%) than received a teeth cleaning (51%) over the past six months
  • Close to half of Americans (45%) would rather spend money on TV services, for example cable or streaming services, than on a dental procedure – this jumps to more than half among millennials (aged 18-34) (56%).


There’s a Filter for That

In today’s world fueled by social media and instant impressions, keeping up one’s ‘best self’ is important to many, especially for younger generations. But for millennials, much of it is style over substance when it comes to actually taking care of their teeth. 

  • Approximately one-third (30%) of those 18-34 digitally whiten their teeth before posting a picture on social media.
    • This age group was less likely to have gotten a teeth cleaning over the past six months (43%) than those aged 35-44 and 55+.
      • 18-34: 43%
      • 35-44: 56%
      • 45-54: 44%
      • 55-64: 52%
      • 65+: 63% 

“People tend to direct their focus and efforts around services and relationships that support the things that matter most, however, in the case of oral health, it’s clear that there’s a dangerous disconnect,” continued McCarthy. “We may be aware that our teeth are important to our health and impact the way we view and are viewed by others, but, according to the research, people are quite literally not putting their money where their mouth is.”


Family Matters

While not all adults are making regular trips to the dentist, the importance of doing so is not completely lost. Among those who are parents of kids under 18, 87 percent said their children had gone to the dentist in the past year, with 72 percent having gone in the past six months.

  • A whopping 97% of parents age 45-54 say their children have gone to the dentist in the past year
  • Millennial parents are more likely to be uncertain of when their children last went to the dentist (13%) than those aged 35-54 (4%), with millennial mothers being more than twice as likely to be unsure than their millennial dad counterparts (17% vs. 8%, respectively)
    • 35-44: 5%
    • 45-54: 1%

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of from January 02 – 04, 2019 among 2,015 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, including 727 parents of kids under 18. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes,  contact

About is a new, free online platform dedicated to improving the state of dental health in this country by increasing the number of new patients who go to the dentist and accept treatment. It is a sister brand of 1-800-DENTIST® and part of Futuredontics®, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dentsply Sirona.