Truth to tooth myth? Study finds half of UK adults miss quarter of teeth when brushing

LONDON — The stereotype mocking the teeth of British people has long persisted in American folklore, so much so that even the BBC has addressed the stigma numerous times.

While those reports point to other countries, including the United States, having overall worse dental health, a new British study shows perhaps the myth isn’t as crooked as they’d like us to believe.

Toothbrush with toothpaste for brushing teeth
Perhaps the stereotype is true after all: A new study finds that nearly half of British adults miss about a quarter of their teeth when brushing.

The study, commissioned by dentists behind the new toothbrush-tracking app Brushlink, found that nearly half of adults in the UK consistently miss at least a quarter of their teeth while brushing. Perhaps that could be due to the fact that 61 percent of participants have never been shown how to properly scrub their pearly-whites by a dentist.

About a quarter of the 2,011 UK adults who participated in the study indicated that someone in their household had to have some sort of dental procedure that they believe would have otherwise been avoided if they’d done a better job brushing.

“This survey has revealed some intriguing insights into our oral health regimes and patients’ relationships with the dental health professionals who care for them,” says Elizabeth Kay, the Foundation Dean of Peninsula Dental School and a Brushlink Scientific Committee member, in a press release. “There is no substitute for good tooth brushing practices when it comes to maintaining a healthy mouth, yet it would appear from the survey that there is a lot more that we can all do to achieve this effectively.”

The results also showed that dental hygiene among UK millennials was particularly inefficient. Just 29 percent of that segment scrubbed all of their teeth when brushing, compared to 55 percent of adults over 55.

Kay says despite the study being funded by the folks behind a product intended to aid in dental hygiene, UK residents should keep the results in mind the next time they pick up a brush.

“The fact that this survey is in association with the launch of a new dental care product — and one which I think is the most amazing oral health product that I have seen in a long time — should encourage people to takes its findings seriously, as it has been commissioned by a group of dentists who are passionate about improving the oral health of the nation,” she says.


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