12 JUNE 2024

New data collected by the Oral Health Foundation shows that 93% of UK adults are comfortable discussing their oral health with family and friends.

The charity believes this highlights a significant trend towards openness about oral care, and says it is important step for the nation to improve its oral hygiene and overall health.

The research reveals interesting contrasts in what people consider acceptable topics of conversation. Data reveals people are more open to talking about oral health problems compared to other areas of their health.

While only 7% said they would not discuss their teeth and gums with friends and family, 37% would not talk about their sexual health, 26% their bowel habits, and 17% their mental health.

Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, says: “It is encouraging to see that so many people feel comfortable discussing their oral health. The mouth is an integral part of the body, and taking good care of your teeth and gums can help prevent some of the most serious and often fatal diseases.

"Being open to talking about oral health with others can lead to better awareness and understanding of good dental practices. This openness can encourage more people to take their oral health seriously, share useful tips, and seek timely advice, ultimately leading to an overall improvement in our population's oral health."

Further analysis of the data shows those who regularly attend the dentist are almost twice as comfortable discussing their oral health compared to those who do not attend.

“Regular conversations with your dentist are the first step to normalising discussions about the health of your mouth,” adds Dr Carter. “Dentists provide valuable information and guidance that you can naturally share with others, fostering a culture of openness and awareness about oral health."

The Oral Health Foundation advocates for open conversations about oral health to raise awareness and improve education on the wider impacts of poor oral hygiene.

Studies have shown a strong link between poor oral health and conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, low birth weight and premature birth, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Carter says: “Good oral health is essential for maintaining overall health. By taking care of your teeth and gums, you can significantly lower your risk of developing serious diseases throughout your body. Oral health is a vital component of overall wellness."

For good oral health, the charity recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, reducing the amount and frequency of sugary foods and drinks, and visiting the dentist regularly.

They also suggest cleaning between your teeth daily with interdental brushes to keep your gums healthy, and using a fluoride mouthwash to help reduce plaque.