16 June 2015

A nationwide survey looking into some of the more unusual places we have brushed our teeth has discovered that we take our toothbrush no matter where we might go.

The research, commissioned by the British Dental Health Foundation as part of National Smile Month, questioned more than 2,000 Brits in order to try and provide an insight into the lengths we will go to in order to maintain good oral health.

The national survey uncovered everything from brushing teeth on the Great Wall of China, to a delivery room while their partner was giving birth – and everything in between.

Results showed that planes, trains and automobiles were popular choices, with one respondent even cleaning their teeth in a bomb shelter while holidaying in Israel.

More answers included camping in Yosemite National Park in California, in the Masi Mara while on safari and in the Australian Outback.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, says while some of the results bring a smile to his face, he is particularly pleased to see that so many of us will go great lengths to keep our good oral hygiene habits.

Dr Carter said: “There are so many great answers it’s difficult to cover them all. So many of us seem to take our toothbrush wherever we go – mountains, jungles and even dates. This is good news as it shows just how many people understand the importance of regularly brushing their teeth.

“Brushing your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste is one of the British Dental Health Foundation’s key messages. Taking four minutes out of 1,440 in the day sounds pretty simple, but you would be surprised just how many people forego this most basic of health tasks.

“Particularly for travellers your routine can be thrown off-course, be it as a result of a long-haul flight or the lack of sanitation. However it’s really important to keep up an oral health routine.  Brushing teeth – particularly last thing at night – is an essential part of that routine.  It helps to removes plaque the main cause of gum disease, which if left untreated can become a serious issue.”

Professor Elizabeth Kay, trustee of the British Dental Health Foundation, added: “Although we have been aware for some time that gum disease is incredibly common, it is worrying to know just how widespread the problem is.

“National Smile Month, which runs until 18 June, is an excellent opportunity for us to make caring for our teeth a top priority. Good dental habits should be for life and are never too late to develop.

“Regular visits to the dentist, as often as they recommend, is really important to give the dentist a chance to assess our oral health and, if necessary, give our teeth a scale and polish. This cannot be done in isolation. Cutting down on how often we have sugary foods and drinks will go a long way to preserving our oral health. It is also important to clean in between teeth using interdental brushes or floss.”