This Friday, October 1st, marks World Smile Day; a day dedicated to smiles and kind acts made famous in part thanks to the iconic yellow smiley face created in 1963 by artist Harvey Ball.
But research shows that over two thirds of us aren’t taking care of our smiles, with only 31% of Brits saying they floss regularly – meaning as high as 69% of us are only cleaning just over half of the plaque from our mouths.
That’s because according to oral care brand Dentek, brushing alone only cleans around 60% of your teeth.
Even more worryingly a number of Brits admit to only brushing their teeth once a day and only 68% of us are brushing for the recommended two minutes – meaning that the equivalent date Brits stop cleaning their teeth could be even earlier in the year!
As Neil from Dentek explains, a proper brushing and flossing routine is essential for good oral health and preventing everything from tooth loss to mouth cancer.
Neil says: “It’s worrying that such a high percentage of people admit to never flossing their teeth, you wouldn’t clean just 60% of your home or be happy with just 60% of your wages so why are so many people okay with not cleaning as much as two fifths of their teeth?
“The health of your teeth can play an extremely important role in your overall wellbeing, and a healthy smile is often one of the first things people will notice about you so it really pays to invest in the health of your teeth with a proper oral care routine. That means brushing twice a day for roughly two minutes and flossing at least once a day, as well as cleaning your tongue which is a part many of us forget but can make a massive difference to our oral health.”
Best Practice For Pearly Whites
Brush twice a day but especially before bed! Many Brits admit to only brushing their teeth in the morning despite the NHS specifically recommending brushing before bed. Interestingly they don’t mention brushing in the morning, they just say you should brush your teeth on one other occasion during the day.
This is because failing to brush your teeth in the evening gives bacteria all night to feast on sugars from food and mouth acids while the body’s natural daytime saliva defences are down.
The NHS also recommends that you should brush your teeth for around two minutes using gentle, circular motions to remove plaque. Proper technique for brushing is important as some evidence suggests that improper brushing techniques can be almost as bad as not brushing at all!
Other tips for brushing include opting for a fluoride-based toothpaste as this helps to build a protective barrier for your teeth against bacteria. And to remember to clean your tongue every time you brush.
Lastly you should aim to floss at least once a day using either dental floss, floss picks or interdental brushes – DenTek even have a handy guide on how to floss including tips on how to use either a floss pick or interdental brushes for those that find regular floss uncomfortable.