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Secrets to nailing the basics of good oral hygiene

A new survey of Brits has revealed that many of us are not regularly doing the basics when it comes to maintaining good oral health such as brushing twice a day, cleaning interdentally, or using mouthwash.

Figures collected by the Oral Health Foundation and Colgate-Palmolive show that one-in-seven people (16%) in the UK only brush their teeth once a day while less than a quarter (23%) say that they regularly clean in between their teeth.

The Oral Health Foundation and Colgate-Palmolive are worried that this new data shows that millions of Brits are putting themselves at unnecessary risk of tooth decay and other oral health problems.

The findings are part of the charity’s The Truth About Tooth Decay – a new online hub to help people learns about the risks of tooth decay and how to spot the early warning signs. The campaign also gives advice for preventing or managing the condition.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation believes a healthy mouth is easy to achieve and highlights how the health of the mouth can play a positive role in our wider health.

Dr Carter says: “Tooth decay remains one of the most common diseases in the UK, yet it remains largely preventable. With an effective daily routine, it is easy to keep tooth decay and other oral diseases at bay.

“Maintaining good oral health is not only important for your teeth and gums but can also provide the rest of your body with a welcome boost. In recent years, poor oral health has been linked to a number of health conditions such as an increased risk of heart disease, dementia and strokes. This means there is a good chance that by keeping your mouth in good health, you can protect and prevent a wealth of other diseases and complications.”

The research suggested that an estimated 1.6 million British adults do not brush their teeth every day.

The data also found that women are more likely to brushing their teeth twice a day compared to men.

When it comes to daily cleaning interdentally, younger adults’ favour dental floss (32%) while those over-55 prefer interdental brushes (26%). Around three-in-four UK adult do not clean in between their teeth every day.

Interdental cleaning is important as food debris can easily get stuck in between the teeth causing a build-up of plaque. If left unattended then this can quickly lead to the development of gum disease.

An antibacterial fluoride mouthwash can also help to prevent tooth decay, while some can also help with gum problems and bad breath. However, data shows that just over half (53%) of Brits use mouthwash daily.

Scientific Affairs Project Manager at Colgate, Emanuele Cotroneo, believes prevention is always better than the cure and the key to maintaining good oral health is to be proactive. Dr Cotroneo says: “When it comes to keeping your teeth and gums in tip top shape, being proactive is vital. By brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes and visiting your dentist as often as they recommend, you keep tooth decay and gum disease at bay.

“If you feel you are at particular risk of tooth decay, for example if you’re elderly, suffer from dry mouth, or have a high sugar diet, then speak to your dentist who can offer advice and support for how you can avoid tooth decay and other problems with the mouth.”


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