45 Million At Risk Of Decay

45 Million At Risk Of Decay

With UK-wide dental practices currently struggling to cope with patient backlogs, a new report is presenting some alarming statistics.

The Oral Health Foundation and Colgate-Palmolive has found that as many as 45 million adults in the UK are now falling into groups at increased risk of caries.

The Oral Health Foundation said “As an oral health charity we find this data very concerning and believe that it’s now more important than ever for Brits to be proactive when it comes to taking care of their oral health.”

Figures collected show that more than four-in-five (84%) of all adults in the UK fall into groups that put them at higher risk of the disease – effectively 84% of the adult population.

High sugar diets, infrequent dental visits and poor brushing habits are cited as risk factors.

Researchers found that one-in-five (21%) British adults have ‘moderate-to-high’ sugar diets, have not visited a dentist in the last two years (21%), or do not brush their teeth twice a day (19%).

The latest data from NHS Digital shows there are 9.7 million band two treatments in England a year.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation emphasised that  tooth decay can have a devastating effect on a person’s quality of life and more must be done to reduce the number of people affected by the disease.

Dr Carter outlined that  “Tooth decay remains the most common chronic disease in the UK, yet it is entirely preventable.”

“Those on medications containing sugar or that cause dry mouth can also put a person at greater risk. We also know that diabetics and orthodontic patients are also more likely to have tooth decay. Together these makes up a significant proportion of the population.”

He is advising the public “If anybody falls into one of the high-risk groups, or notices the early signs of tooth decay, they should book an appointment with their dental team for an assessment.”

To help more members of the public identify their risk of tooth decay and how to spot the early warning signs, the charity has partnered with Colgate-Palmolive to launch a new educational campaign. The initiative, The Truth About Tooth Decay also gives advice for preventing the condition. A link to the campaign can be found here.

Scientific Affairs Project Manager at Colgate, Dr Emanuele Cotroneo said “The best way to prevent tooth decay is by brushing the teeth thoroughly last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a 1450ppm fluoride toothpaste. This should take around two minutes.”

The new research closely follows a recent study by Birmingham University as reported in GDPUK which suggested that good oral hygiene and gum health may be the key to saving patients from developing severe COVID-19 illness.

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