The survey, which interviewed over 1,000 members of the public on various oral–health topics, revealed that many people are unsure about good oral health–care, in particular the impact their diet has on their teeth.
When asking about which foods and drinks were good or bad for teeth, the survey found a general misconception among the public – over 50 percent of those who took part believed sugary drinks such as fruit smoothies were not damaging to their oral health.
People over 60 were the age group most likely to believe fruit smoothies were no risk at all, and men were found to be more likely than women to think smoothies weren’t bad for their teeth.
The survey was conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation for National Smile Month (May 16 – June 16).
The Chief Executive of the Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter said: “These results are quite shocking. A smoothie is something which often has a very high sugar content and being thick sticks to the teeth, and therefore is obviously bad for them. That such a large number of the public are unaware of this shows a general lack of knowledge about oral health.”
Dr Carter added: “As more and more serious illnesses are being linked with oral health, it really is vital people understand how to take care of their teeth properly. The Foundation wants to make information more readily available for the public and remind people how important it is to visit their dentist regularly for check–ups.
“This is not the first time we have noticed a misconception about oral health amongst the public. We have reported in the past about a lack of knowledge about products such as maple syrup. We will continue to keep an eye on this subject, and we hope the more information we get out there, the more things will improve.”
The Foundation recommends water and milk as the healthiest choices of drinks, but emphasises that cutting down on how often you have sugary drinks is a big improvement.
As part of National Smile Month (May 16 – June 16), the Foundation is promoting good oral health–care through their campaign ‘Teeth4Life’. The campaign has three key messages:
– Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
– Visit your dentist regularly
– Cut down the frequency of sugary drinks and foods in your diet
The National Dental Helpline (0845 063 1188) is available to answer any queries by phone or email on a large range of oral health topics including diet, oral hygiene and preventative care. The Helpline is staffed by fully trained dental nurses and oral health educators and is available from Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm.
For further information please contact the Foundation’s Press Office on [email protected] 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 also be contacted by email on [email protected]
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.
The Foundation’s website can be found at www.dentalhealth.org