01 June 2016

Geordies may not have had much to smile about over the last few weeks following their football team’s relegation from the Premier League, but during National Smile Month at least they can smile about their impressive tooth brushing habits.

Newcastle have topped a nationwide survey of cities that brush their teeth twice a day; with four out of five (81%) residents giving their teeth a good clean two times each day. One in ten (11%) said they brush once a day while 4% brush three times a day.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation spoke about the results and is looking to remind people to prioritise their oral health: “Bushing our teeth at least twice a day is very important, as doing it only once means we are significantly more likely to develop tooth decay.

“When good fortune smiles upon the city of Newcastle again then the residents can all smile safe in the knowledge that they have some of the best maintained mouths in the country.

“Bushing for at least two minutes last thing at night and in at least one other occasion with fluoride toothpaste is a really one of the best and simplest ways for us to look after our oral health. It brushes away build-ups of plaque which, if not removed, can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

“It is important to remember to wait an hour after eating or drinking anything before brushing our teeth, as the acid formed when we eat sugary foods and drinks it softens the enamel and we may brush away particles of enamel which eventually leads to tooth erosion.”

The research was part of a wider look at the nations oral health habits by leading health charity the Oral Health Foundation in aid of National Smile Month.

National Smile Month 2016 is being supported by some of the nation’s best-known brands and retailers. Wrigley’s Extra, Oral-B as platinum sponsors of the campaign, with further support from Polo® sugar-free and Philips Sonicare.

The poll discovered that Oxford (75%) and Southampton (75%) pushed Newcastle closely to the top spot; while bottom of the twice daily brushing league were Belfast (46%), Sheffield (51%) and Coventry (54%).

Nationwide, the findings were worrying, as only two thirds of people said they brush their teeth twice a day. Dramatically increasing their chances of developing tooth decay, with women being more likely to only brush once a day.

Dr Carter added: “As brushing our teeth only takes four minutes each day, it is deeply concerning that so many of us are neglecting the most basic way of preventing long term oral health problems.

“A good rule of thumb is to try and brush last thing at night and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste. We should also visit the dentist regularly and cut down on how often we have sugary foods and drinks.

“Our smiles are very closely related to our confidence, attraction and success so it is very important that we make our oral health a priority.”

National Smile Month runs until 16 June. The charity campaign aims to increase awareness of good oral health and this year celebrates its 40th year.