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Britons unaware of consequences of poor oral hygiene

British people are unable to recognise the long-term effects of neglecting their teeth.

Research from the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) shows that 90 per cent of people are unaware of the effects that dental hygiene had on mental and physical disorders.

Of the 2,000 people questioned, a high percentage did not know that dementia had close links with oral health.

Four in five people were unaware of ties with pneumonia and colon cancer, whilst 79 per cent did not know that strokes could result from dental conditions.

However, a larger number of participants in the study (40 per cent) did understand that oral hygiene problems could lead to heart conditions.

Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE said: “The survey results are the clearest indication yet that the public is unaware of just how important their oral health is.”

Dr Carter added: “The good news is that poor oral health is nearly always preventable.” He advised regular visits to the dentist, and cleaning “between teeth using interdental brushes or floss” to avoid further problems.

In recent studies poor dental health has been directly linked with diabetes, hospital-acquired infections, erectile dysfunction, cancer, endocarditis, dementia, psoriasis and pregnancy complications.

Although these conditions may be extreme, it is important to make patients aware of poor hygiene effects using a dental welcome pack.

As part of the National Smile Month campaign, the BDHF revealed their research to raise awareness of dental hygiene. The project aims to provide clear simple messages to the general public and to get people into the routine of brushing their teeth more regularly.

So far the event has given very young children the chance to feel comfortable in the dentist’s chair. A nursery owner who took part in the scheme told the Melton Times: “Some of the children had never been into a dentist before”.

Children and adults across the UK are becoming more informed thanks to the campaign: this can only be a positive thing for the dental industry.

Posted by Yvonne Wallace.

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