Nearly half of the population (47 per cent) has admitted to regularly skipping brushing their teeth at bedtime putting their oral health at risk.
Women are the most likely to break one of the three golden rules for clean and healthy teeth, with nearly six out of ten (59 per cent) regularly skipping brushing their teeth at bedtime, compared to just over a third of men (35 per cent).
In contrast, relatively few people skip brushing their teeth in the morning with just one in ten people starting the day without looking after their teeth.
The findings1 have been revealed by the British Dental Health Foundation as part of its National Smile Month campaign, which has been running since 1977. The survey - which looked at the nation's brushing habits - also found that over a quarter of the population (28 per cent) have admitted to not brushing their teeth for 24 hours and around one in seven people (15 per cent) have not cleaned their teeth for more than two days.
During National Smile Month, the Foundation seeks to remind everyone of the three golden rules for good oral health: brushing for two minutes twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste; cutting down on how often you eat and drink sugary foods and drinks; and visiting your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.
Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, said: "Anyone who regularly skips brushing their teeth - morning or night-time - is storing up oral health problems for the future such as tooth decay and gum disease - the biggest cause of tooth loss often resulting in the need for bridges, dentures or implants.
"Gum disease has also been linked to other medical problems such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes and respiratory disease.
"Good oral health cannot be maintained by brushing once a day as each brushing session has a specific purpose. Brushing first thing in the morning coats the tooth's enamel with fluoride to strengthen and protect the tooth surface against acid attacks throughout the day.
"Brushing last thing at night removes the deposits which have built up from eating and drinking during the day, as well as removing plaque - the cause of gum disease.
"The last brush of the day also coats the teeth with fluoride, which is not washed away through eating and drinking, and continues to protect the tooth's surface further during sleep," advised Dr Carter.
1. National Smile Month Survey - Brushing Habits - March 2011.