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A Smile Is Your Best Feature

It's not surprising to learn that the feature we find most attractive in others is: The Smile!

"The smile outranked the eyes, hair and body as the most attractive physical feature," according to a study conducted by the American Dental Association(ADA)and two toothpaste companies.

Yet, when it comes to taking care of teeth and gums, there is a gender divide. The national survey of 1,000 Americans over 18 found that 86 percent of women brush at least two times a day, compared with only 66 percent of men.

The survey also found that women change their toothbrush or power toothbrush head every three-to-four months, yet men hang on to theirs for about five months.

The ADA recommends that we replace toothbrushes every three to four months, or, when the bristles appear to be frayed or tilted. The reason is that worn or tilted bristles are less effective in cleaning teeth.

All Americans fall woefully short when it comes to flossing their teeth, the study says. Less than half, 49 percent, reported flossing their teeth at least once a day. And one out of three people stated that they think a little blood in the sink after brushing is normal. Yet, this condition likely signals gum disease or another health problem.

"More and more, our expanding knowledge about the link between oral health and overall body health highlights the importance of flossing, brushing and regular dental check-ups says Dr. Daniel Deutsch, at the Washington Center for Dentistry, in Washington, DC. "Not only are we aware of a link between oral health and cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but some diseases or medical conditions, such as oral cancer, have symptoms that can appear in the mouth."