Dental anxiety is universal. According to a survey conducted by the Oral Health Foundation and Procter & Gamble in honor of National Smile Month, 67% of British adults are apprehensive about visiting a dental professional. Of those who worry, 33% are anxious about the discomfort of the treatment, while 26% worry about its costs.
Perhaps the anxiety is the result of poor oral health habits, the Oral Health Foundation and Procter & Gamble suggest. The survey found that 28% of those polled attempt to fix or improve their oral health just days before their visit to the dentist. Also, 50% had weakened enamel and 30% had tooth decay, likely caused by diets rich in sugar and acid.
“Cake culture and unhealthy options of high-sugar foods and drinks in vending machines and canteens are not only contributing to oral health problems but major issues with health overall, with increased levels of diabetes and obesity,” said Dr. Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation.
The Oral Health Foundation aims to turn these attitudes around with its National Smile Month campaign, May 15 through June 15. It encourages people to brush their teeth right before they go to sleep and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste, reduce the number of sugary foods in their diet, and visit the dentist as often as recommended.
“Too often our oral health takes a backseat when we think about our overall health and well-being. This simply shouldn’t be the case,” said Carter. “National Smile Month is all about re-engaging the nation about the importance of a healthy mouth and the benefits our smile can have.”