Global Survey Exposes the Truth About Our Oral Health Habits
FDI World Dental Federation is myth busting what people around the world believe to be good oral health practices, encouraging them to become better informed and take action. Oral health is integral to our general health and well-being; impacting every aspect of our lives.
The results from a survey carried out in 12 countries, by YouGov on behalf of FDI, exposed a significant gap between what people believe to be good oral health practices, versus what they actually do. Eight of the countries reported that 50 percent or more of the people surveyed think it is important to brush your teeth straight after every main meal. Brazil, Mexico, Egypt and Poland were the worst offenders of this incorrect oral health practice (84%, 81%, 62% and 60% respectively). FDI recommends waiting at least 30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth to avoid weakening tooth enamel.
“These survey results highlight an alarming discrepancy between knowledge and actual good oral health practices,” said Dr Patrick Hescot, FDI President. “We want everyone to take control of their oral health this World Oral Health Day and understand that by adopting good oral hygiene habits, avoiding risk factors and having a regular dental check-up, they can help protect their mouths. A healthy mouth allows us to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow and convey a range of emotions with confidence and without pain, discomfort and disease. Good oral health matters and translates to a better quality of life.”
The majority of countries surveyed incorrectly believe that rinsing the mouth out with water after brushing is important; Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, India and Canada were found to practice this myth the most (77%, 75%, 73%, 67% and 67% respectively). It is actually recommended not to rinse with water straight after brushing to allow maximum exposure to fluoride, which will optimize the preventative effects.
Nearly half the population surveyed in India, South Africa, Brazil and Poland (52%, 49%, 48% and 42% respectively), felt that drinking fruit juice rather than fizzy drinks was important for good oral health. Fruit juice however, can also be high in sugar which can cause tooth decay. FDI recommends keeping consumption of sugary drinks to a minimum as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Dr Edoardo Cavalle, WOHD Task Team Chair, stated “Understanding good oral health practices and adopting them early in life, will help to maintain optimal oral health into old age and ensure you live a long life free from physical pain and often emotional suffering caused by oral disease.”
Other key findings on oral health practices include:
77 percent of people surveyed agreed that visiting a dentist once per year is good oral health practice, but only 52 percent actually tend to do it
Only 28 percent of respondents identified drinking alcohol in moderation as important for good oral health