More than 2 million adults in the UK haven’t been to the dentist in over 10 years, new research shows.
The National Dental Survey, from Bupa Dental Care, also revealed that more than a third of Brits admit they ignore dental pain or mask it with pain killers.
The Welsh were found to be the worst for forgetting to visit their dentist (27%), followed by the north east (26%) and West Midlands (24%).
‘Our survey results reveal a lot of bad habits we’ve picked up when it comes to our dental care,’ Dr Eddie Coyle, dentist and clinical director at Bupa Dental Care, says.
‘Visiting the dentist, brushing for two minutes and daily flossing can make a huge impact on your oral health so it’s a shame to see so many people skipping these all important tasks.
‘Good dental care doesn’t have to be a chore and dental decay is completely preventable with regular check-ups and simple changes to your daily routine.’
A quarter (22%) of Brits skip brushing their teeth if they’re in a rush, the survey found.
And a third of Brits (34%) never floss or visit their hygienist (33%).
The worst performing area for brushing their teeth was London, with 43% admitting they skip brushing when in a rush.
‘As humans, we are creatures of habit – so even though small changes to our oral health routine sound easy on paper, it’s not always that straightforward to change patterns we’ve developed over a lifetime,’ Juliet Hodges, senior behaviour change adviser at Bupa, says.
‘However, there’s plenty of things you can do to make the process easier and eventually these positive changes will become second nature.
‘If remembering to floss is something you struggle with, one of the easiest things to do is set yourself a reminder.
‘If you know you rush your brushing, try timing yourself.
‘Whatever techniques you try, remember that consistency is the key.
‘When you do something consistently over a period of time, the behaviour starts to become automatic and you are therefore much more likely to continue with it long term.’
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Fillings and extractions
Three quarters (76%) of Brits have fillings and 66% have had at least one tooth extracted.
Wales experienced the most dental procedures with 84% having had a tooth extracted and 94% having needed a filling.
London meanwhile had the best record for extractions (39%) and fillings (48%) across the country.