New research uncovers poor oral health trends amongst both adults and children

New research uncovers poor oral health trends amongst both adults and children

The Simplyhealth Consumer Oral Health Survey report, highlights a number of jaw-dropping statistics regarding the nation’s oral health. Nearly a third of children have had between one and five fillings. Only 73% of adults brush twice a day or more, and 33% never floss and a quarter of adults (24%) claim to be “addicted” to sugar. Only 20% of adults think that poor oral health can be linked to heart disease.

The report says that despite the best efforts of dentists, only 73% of people brush their teeth twice a day or more as recommended and a third of respondents (33%) say they never floss. Women brush up when it comes to oral health, with 77% brushing at least twice a day compared with only 69% of men.

In addition, the research reveals that almost one in ten adults (8%) are avoiding the dental chair and say they only visit the dentist when they’re in pain - perhaps not helped by the fact that over a third (36%) say they are afraid of the dentist.

Furthermore, in spite of a greater awareness of the link between oral health and general health, with 75% of people agreeing that poor oral health can have a significant impact on general health, only 20% think oral health can be linked to heart disease and a mere 13% think it can be linked to diabetes.

Commenting on the figures, dentist and Simplyhealth spokesperson, Dr Catherine Rutland said: “With busy lifestyles, it’s tempting to skip brushing or flossing, or delay visits to the dentist. A good oral health routine is an essential everyday activity that helps to protect against tooth decay and gum disease.” 

The research also uncovered some shocking childhood insights. Only two thirds (63%) of parents surveyed visit the dentist every six months with their child, which is the check-up period recommended by experts. Just under a quarter (23%) visit the dentist once a year and, even more worryingly, 5% never visit.

The survey also explored the problems parents face when trying to get their children to brush their teeth regularly and correctly, with 64% of respondents saying getting their child to brush their teeth for two minutes, twice a day was their biggest challenge. Ensuring children have tooth-friendly drinks is a struggle for 41% of parents and 37% said finding tooth-friendly snacks for their children can be a problem.

Dr Catherine Rutland, comments: “While children’s teeth are developing, it’s important to visit the dentist regularly – ideally every six months. It’s best to take your child for their first dental appointment when their milk teeth start to appear, which is usually around six months of age. Even if your young child doesn’t let the dentist do a thorough check-up, just being in the dental environment is beneficial by helping them to become familiar with the team, sights, sounds and smells of a dental practice. Regular dental check-ups from an early age encourages children to understand the importance of good oral health habits for life, as well as helping potential dental problems to be spotted early.”

To read the full report and to find out more visit: https://www.simplyhealth.co.uk/COHS

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