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Home » Oral Health » The Hidden Health Threat Right Under Your Nose: Why You Need to Know Your OQ™

Did you know that the most prevalent disease in the world is preventable? Even still, cavities remain the most common chronic disease.

Yet, few people know that your mouth is the gateway to your overall health and well-being. Perhaps a lack of understanding of the importance of oral health is why 3.5 billion people (nearly half the world’s population) are suffering from oral diseases, like cavities and gum disease. 

Oral diseases don’t just cause a pain in your mouth. Studies have found that people with untreated gum diseases have increased risk for heart attacks and strokes, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and other health conditions. Poor oral health is also linked to mental health and well-being — research shows cavities lead to anxiety and embarrassment. Tooth pain and trips to the dentist to treat cavities mean children miss up to three days of school per year, requiring their parents to lose the same amount of time at work.  

The good news is that this global health crisis is largely preventable. With the right knowledge and some simple tools, you can take charge of your oral health and begin your journey toward a healthier future. The first step is to Know Your OQ™.

Just like you might know your IQ or EQ, Colgate-Palmolive wants you to Know Your OQ™ — your oral health quotient. If you Know Your OQ™, you’ll learn the impacts of oral health on your physical health and mental wellbeing, and the simple steps for taking care of your mouth. 

Finding out your oral health quotient is easy — by taking the free, interactive online assessment at, you can test your oral health knowledge in just a few minutes. Think you know how to identify the signs of oral diseases? Or what the number one cause of bad breath is?

You might find that your OQ isn’t as high as you’d hope. Boost your score: explore tips for brushing up on your oral health, gain a better understanding of oral diseases, learn preventive strategies, and discover opportunities to seek professional help.

“The connections between oral health and overall health are clear, but there’s a real information gap,” said Mark S. Wolff, DDS, PhD, Morton Amsterdam Dean School of Dental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. “Oral health is linked to the conditions we often talk about – from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes to mental health – yet oral health literacy is dangerously low. The first step to addressing this hidden crisis is educating people that maintaining proper oral hygiene is necessary for a healthier future.” 

So, what can you do to improve your OQ and prevent cavities, gum disease, and bad breath?

  • Brush Twice a Day for Two Minutes: Brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes twice-daily is essential for an impactful oral care routine (nighttime brushing is critical), along with flossing daily, using mouthwash as needed, and remembering to brush your tongue.
  • Get Regular Check Ups: Even the best brushers and flossers need to go to the dentist every six months. Dentists can provide a more thorough clean than you can at home, spot potential issues early on (especially important since many oral diseases do not have obvious signs or symptoms), and offer preventive strategies and treatment solutions.
  • Upgrade to a Connected Toothbrush: Connected technologies empower you to get the most out of your brushing by improving your technique. And they’re not just for adults: kids’ versions have apps that provide games and virtual rewards to help them build proper oral care habits early on. 

There’s no doubt about it, a healthier, brighter future starts with a healthy mouth. By spreading awareness and taking meaningful action, we can build a future where oral care is an integral part of our everyday health routines.

Take care of your mouth to take care of the rest of you. To take the first step and Know Your OQ™, visit:

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