Men take less care of their teeth than women, new research reveals.
A survey of UK adults – commissioned by dental plan providers, Denplan – found men were more likely to brush their teeth just once a day, and less likely to use mouthwash, dental floss or breath mints.
They were also less likely to seek professional help if they had toothache or another dental problem.
Overall the survey suggests millions of Britons are not taking proper care of their teeth with only 61% bothering to brush twice a day.
The findings indicate fewer people are brushing twice a day than 30 years ago.
In 1978 64% of people who responded to the Adult Dental Health Survey said they cleaned their teeth twice a day or more.
That number rose to 67 per cent in 1988 and 74 per cent in 1998.
Of the respondents who didn’t brush their teeth twice a day, 32% thought it wasn’t necessary and 19% said they simply couldn’t be bothered to brush twice.
Almost three quarters of all respondents who brush their teeth don’t spend enough time on it, brushing for less than the recommended two minutes each time.
Denplan managing director Steve Gates said: ‘Our respondents said that they don’t have time to brush their teeth twice or more times a day.
‘But only four minutes a day is needed to help you avoid any nasty dental problems that could mean pain, anti-social smelly breath or even losing some teeth.
‘As adults, these are the only teeth we are ever going to get so it’s frustrating to see people dedicate more time to cleaning the car or putting their make-up on.”
He added: We do believe that much of this unawareness of oral hygiene is symptomatic of the fact that people increasingly have less access to dentists.
‘Dentists provide vital aftercare advice and help to educate patients on how to avoid serious problems.’
The online survey questioned 1974 adults of all ages between 11-14 January and the results revealed a huge gap in understanding what foods cause tooth decay, too.
More than a third of respondents didn’t know the main cause of tooth decay was sugar with 37% citing reasons such as ‘plaque’ and ‘lack of calcium’.
It was no surprise that 60% had suffered dental-related problems in the last year.
Of these, nearly twice as many men (21%) than women (12%) did nothing about it, whereas 87% of women consulted a dental professional or improved their oral health regime.
The research also showed that women (36%) were better at flossing than men (21%), with 32% of men also admitting they didn’t use mouthwash, floss, mints or chewing gum.
• The survey results can be viewed at www.denplan.co.uk.