Public health guidelines for oral health aren’t aligned with our modern day lifestyles, a new report claims.
The report, titled Eat, Drink, Think, found that 83% of respondents consume at least one snack between their meals, with 48% eating more than one snack a day.
Despite our ‘grazing’ culture, the report highlights that no oral health intervention is made after 56% of morning snacks and 60% of afternoon snacks.
‘Brushing twice a day remains the single most effective preventative oral health measure, but as the Eat, Drink, Think report indicates, eating and drinking habits have changed and patient’s attitudes to oral health must adapt too,’ Dr Ben Atkins, a general dental practitioner, says.
‘The use of sugarfree gum can supplement existing oral health routines, and this should be reflected in the current guidelines.’
Forgetting to brush teeth
Current guidelines should be updated so that our teeth are protected after an acid attack, the Eat, Drink, Think report says.
The report, commissioned by Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programme, found that 21% of respondents didn’t give any consideration to the impact on their oral health of what they eat and drink, with 45% believing they could eat and drink what they wanted if they didn’t have any problems with their teeth.
It goes on to say that 22% of respondents often forget to brush their teeth, with a similar number claiming that looking after their teeth is less important than looking after other aspects of their health.
‘There is a growing need for the NHS to make cost savings and a greater emphasis on preventative care measures to tackle all kinds of medical issues, including dental diseases,’ Professor Tim Newton, Kings College London’s Dental Institute, and author of the report foreword, says.
‘This research and the report findings demonstrate that if there was ever a time for the introduction of a simple and low-cost oral health intervention to be included in public health guidance, it is now.’