Dental Tribune UK & Ireland

Up to 60 per cent of Brits regret neglecting oral hygiene

By Dental Tribune International
June 20, 2012

RUGBY – A recently published survey has revealed that six out of ten respondents born in the 1960s or earlier are most likely to regret not having taken care of their teeth when they were younger. Although UK oral health has improved in recent decades, the survey respondents in this age group grew up in an era in which oral-health education was still widely insufficient.

The British Dental Health Foundation surveyed 1,006 people (479 male and 527 female) between 16 and 65 or older. The survey found that 55 per cent regretted their past poor oral hygiene and people aged 55 were found to be the most regretful. About 60 per cent admitted that they had not taken proper care of their teeth in the past.

With regard to regional variation, the BDHF found that people living in the North East region are most likely to regret having neglected their oral health in earlier life. Almost 70 per cent reported feelings of guilt. The lowest number was found in the East Midlands, where 47 per cent regretted not having taken care of their teeth.

“There is a very strong message from older people that not looking after oral health when young can lead to a lifetime of regrets. Our teeth and smile are important to many aspects of our life and cannot be taken for granted,” said Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the BDHF.

As the survey suggests that young adults are the group most conscious about their oral status, Carter hopes that oral health will improve with future generations.

In addition, two-thirds (67 per cent) of the 16- to 24-year-olds in the survey said that they are now more worried about how their teeth look compared with five years ago. Moreover, about 62 per cent in this age group said that they are happy with their current oral health.

According to the BDHF, around one in five people in the UK wear full or partial dentures. The organisation estimates that 2.5 million people have no natural teeth.

The findings were published as part of National Smile Month, a nationwide campaign to improve the country’s oral health.

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