It was only one of many misconceptions about diet and oral health, discovered by the British Dental Health Foundation in a survey conducted for National Smile Month.
The survey results suggest a general misconception among the public about diet and oral health issues. 107 of the people surveyed thought that cabbage was bad for their teeth, and 11 percent thought that a low carbohydrate diet would be damaging to their oral health. In fact, neither of these is harmful to the teeth and gums.
Chief Executive of the Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter said: “This is a worrying result. The product is so high in sugar that it should be obvious that it is bad for the teeth. This result shows a real lack of knowledge about oral health. I won’t be having sweet dreams tonight, after hearing these results!”
The Foundation emphasises how important it is that the public know what good oral health–care means.
Dr Carter said: “People need to know what is and is not good for their teeth. As more and more serious illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, are being linked to poor oral health it is important that people know how to take care of their teeth and gums.”
The survey found that 43 percent of those questioned thought red wine was bad for their teeth, whereas only 24 percent thought white wine was.
Research has shown that white wine, and its high acid content, is actually more damaging to teeth than red wine, as it erodes tooth enamel at a faster pace. This can make teeth sensitive and unsightly.
An experiment conducted by Italian scientists actually suggests that red wine can be beneficial in preventing tooth decay. Red wine which is high in antioxidants makes it difficult for harmful bacteria to cling onto the teeth.
The Foundation’s advice is that if you are going to have a glass of wine do so with a meal, and leave a period of at least one hour between drinking and brushing your teeth – this gives the enamel on your teeth a chance to recover from the acidic attack and makes it less prone to being brushed away.
Dr Carter added: “When it comes to what you should drink for a healthy mouth – still water and milk are your best options, but cutting down on any sugary drinks in your diet will also be beneficial. A food diet which is high in vitamins, minerals and fresh produce can help prevent gum disease. If you’re snacking then pick savoury snacks such as raw vegetables, nuts, breadsticks and cheese.
Only 53 percent realised that fruit juice would be damaging, despite their high sugar levels and acidity.
Chewing sugar–free gum after meals is recommended as it will produce more saliva, which helps to counteract the acid in your mouth after eating or drinking.
The National Dental Helpline (0845 063 1188) can be contacted between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday and offers free, confidential and independent advice.
For further information please contact the Foundation’s Press Office on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01788 539799.
The British Dental Health Foundation is the UK’s leading oral health charity, with a 30–year track record of providing public information and influencing government policy. It maintains a free consumer advice service, an impartial and objective product accreditation scheme, publishes and distributes a wide range of literature for the profession and consumers, and runs National Smile Month each May, to promote greater awareness of the benefits of better oral health.
The Dental Helpline, which offers free impartial advice to consumers, can be contacted on 0845 063 1188 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Alternatively, they can be contacted by email on email@example.com
A series of free ‘Tell Me About…’ leaflets covering topics such as caring for my teeth, finding a dentist and diet are also available.
National Smile Month is supported by three giants of oral health–care Oral–B, Wrigley’s Orbit Complete and Listerine.
1, 000 people were surveyed in 10 cities across the UK, with age groups varying from 18 – 30 to over 60.