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Britons ‘unaware’ of potential holiday dental problems

British people heading to warmer climates for their summer break this year may need to be provided with more information about what they should be doing to protect their teeth when on holiday, as a new survey has warned this is often something individuals fail to consider.

Research conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) revealed that risks of problems such as dental erosion and tooth decay are increased during the holiday season, as many people change their normal eating and drinking habits.

The group noted that in addition to disruption to normal meal times, people are more likely to snack during their vacation, which means teeth are subjected to multiple attacks per day.

As well as the increased frequency of snacking, the types of food Britons eat on holiday is also a cause for concern. The BDHF observed that treats such as ice cream, seaside rock and fizzy drinks are common summer snacks that can lead to tooth decay due to their high sugar levels.

Meanwhile, other foods and drinks popular at this time of year such as vinaigrettes, olives, red wine and cider are all highly acidic and can therefore play a key role in eroding the teeth’s enamel.

Chief executive of the BDHF Dr Nigel Carter said: “The habit of snacking and grazing in between meals is one that continues to creep into society. What people do not realise is every time you eat or drink anything sugary, your teeth are under acid attack for up to one hour.”

The BDHF’s research found beach holidays are the most common choice of destination for people in the UK this summer, with 29 per cent of respondents saying this is the type of holiday that makes them smile the most. This was ahead of sightseeing (18 per cent), camping (ten per cent) and cruise and diving holidays (both eight per cent).

Dr Carter added that while snacking on these foods and drinks while on holiday is okay in moderation, holidaymakers need to be more aware of the potential impact it could have on their dental health – particularly if they are vacationing with young children – so dental marketing could be a good way of spreading awareness.

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