Only 73% of people brush their teeth twice a day or more and 33% claim they never floss.
That’s according to the latest Simplyhealth Consumer Oral Health Survey launched yesterday at an event in London.
Women care for their oral health more than men, with 77% of women brushing twice a day, compared with 69% of men.
‘With busy lifestyles, it’s tempting to skip brushing or flossing, or delay visits to the dentist,’ Dr Catherine Rutland, head of professional support services at Simplyhealth Professionals, said.
‘A good oral health routine is an essential everyday activity that helps to protect against tooth decay and gum disease.
‘Moreover, studies are increasingly finding links between oral health and common conditions.
‘So further education for dental patients in this area is certainly needed.
‘It’s important for everyone to start thinking about how their oral health might impact on their general wellbeing.
‘This is especially significant if you’ve been diagnosed with a serious health condition, or if you’re at high risk of developing one.’
Children’s oral health
Only 63% of parents visit the dentist every six months with their children, with 5% saying they never visit.
Almost two thirds (64%) believe getting children to brush teeth twice a day for two minutes was their biggest challenge.
Other challenges included ensuring their children had tooth-friendly drinks (31%) and tooth-friendly snacks (37%).
‘While children’s teeth are developing, it’s important to visit the dentist regularly – ideally every six months,’ Dr Rutland continued.
‘It’s best to take your child for their first dental appointment when their milk teeth start to appear.
‘Even if your child doesn’t let the dentist do a thorough check-up, just being in the environment is beneficial.
‘Regular dental check-ups from an early age encourages children to understand the importance of good oral health habits.
‘As well as helping potential dental problems to be spotted early.’
Boundaries for Life
Dr Chet Trivedy was at the launch of the survey promoting the work of the charity Boundaries for Life.
Founded in 2010, Boundaries for Life offers free health checks at major cricket fixtures throughout the UK.
Made possible through a team of volunteer health professionals, the spectators and ground staff are checked for signs and risks of health issues, including mouth cancer, blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, heart age, and obesity.
‘Over the last nine years we’ve carried out 4,700 free health checks,’ Dr Trivedy said.
‘I can safely say I’ve probably picked up eight or nine mouth cancers in that time.
‘These were in people that had no idea.
‘Oral health needs to be given the same priority as we give to breast cancer and other major diseases.’