Shocking state of UK’s dental hygiene revealed


The British Dental Health Foundation and Oral-B research shows that people donÂ’t understand that a smile can actually be a barometer of your overall wellbeing, and that a good oral care routine has potential health benefits beyond just your teeth and gums.

Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation says: ‘Oral health is often seen as of secondary importance to general health – around 85% of people are completely unaware of the link between the health of the mouth and the health of the body. This yearÂ’s National Smile Month Theme: Teeth4Life will highlight the importance of maintaining and looking after the health your teeth throughout life.Â’

Luckily as summer approaches 60% of Brits understand that fad diets like the Maple Syrup Diet are going to play havoc with their smiles. However most people mistakenly think that red wine is worse for their teeth than white- incorrect! Research shows that red wine can actually ward off tooth decay* (due to the chemicals in it that stop harmful bacteria sticking to teeth), and it is in fact white wines like Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay that can be the most staining to teeth, as they actually wear away the protective enamel**.

Shockingly a third of us think that nothing serious will happen to us if we neglect our gums, whereas research has linked gum disease to potential risk of heart disease, diabetes, strokes, premature births, low birth-weight babies, and even infertility. Definitely time for Brits to brush up on their oral health knowledge!

The survey, conducted to highlight National Smile month this May, shows that people think you should only brush your teeth for around 30 seconds, when dentists recommend a minimum of 2 minutes every morning and evening.

Celebrity dentist and Oral-B ambassador Dr Phil Stemmer recommends using a power brush to ensure his patients brush for the optimum 2 minutes of time: “It is shocking that the National Smile Month research has revealed that people are only brushing their teeth for 30 seconds. To really ensure you brush for long enough, try the Oral-B PC Triumph 5000 with SmartGuide which not only times how long you brush your teeth for but also encourages better brushing habits. The SmartGuide display helps to prevent common problems like brushing too hard, not brushing for long enough and unequal brushing.”

The National Smile Month survey also reveals that over a quarter of people in the UK (26%) are damaging their teeth by brushing just after breakfast, while an astonishing 38% assume they should brush their teeth after every single meal for optimum oral health. Dr Phil Stemmer recommends brushing before eating,: “The enamel that coats the outer layer of our teeth is temporarily softened by acidic foods, such as fruit”, he explains.“Brush first thing in the morning before breakfast- and once more in evening at least half an hour after eating.”

In the football smile stakes, Cheryl Cole was voted the pearly queen, having the best celebrity WAG smile, whereas RooneyÂ’s ankle injury has clearly left him down in the mouth – he has been voted the footballer with the worst smile, even compared to famously buck-toothed Ronaldinho.

This year’s National Smile Month campaign slogan, ‘Teeth4Life’, highlights the importance of looking after your teeth and maintaining them for life, whilst also stressing that a healthy diet can improve the quality of your life. Oral – B are the experts in oral care and as the number one brand recommended by UK dentists, passionately believe in helping the nation to brush up on their oral hygiene for healthier, confident smiles.

More information on the survey

The Oral-B National Smile Month Survey was conducted across ten of the UKÂ’s largest cities, across males and females aged 18-60+Oral-B power toothbrushes are available from selected larger supermarkets, department stores and chemists. For additional information regarding Oral-BÂ’s wide range of oral care products please visit
Oral-B Triumph 5000 with SmartGuide

The new sleeker, more ergonomic Oral–B Triumph 5000 is the next generation in premium rechargeable toothbrushes designed to fight plaque and be gentle on gums. This revolutionary toothbrush combines Oral-B’s most clinically advanced 3D cleaning and whitening technology.

The Triumph 5000 works by using microchips embedded in the brush head and handle to monitor brushing activity and provide real-time guidance of your oral care routine via SmartGuide™ Wireless which communicates with the digital display. The display guides you through your brushing technique to encourage better brushing habits and helps prevent common problems such as brushing too hard, unequal brushing and not brushing for long enough (ensuring the all important two minutes of brushing time is reached). It comes complete with 4 customised brushing modes, including massage and polish; it is like having a dental supervisor in the bathroom with you every time you brush.

RRP ÂŁ160.00

* Research from Pavia University, Italy 2010
**Journal of Nutrition, 2009Research looking at systemic links between oral health and overall health:


• December 2008 – Italian/UK study in FASEB Journal reveals good oral healthcare and treatment for gum disease can prevent the bacteria that cause thickening of the arteries. (Piconi, Trabattoni et al, FASEB Journal Dec 08)

• September 2008 – scientists present the Society of General MicrobiologyÂ’s autumn meeting with two new studies linking between gum disease and heart disease.

o A University of Bristol-led presentation shows how the 700 million oral bacteria present a clear risk, with harmful bacteria bonding to protect against the immune system or antibiotics, and increasing chances of heart disease even in the case of fit healthy people (Jenkinson, Kerrigan et al – Uni Bristol/RCS Dublin Sep 08)

o A study presented by University of Otago’s Professor Greg Seymour finds that oral bacteria causes atherosclerosis, or ‘furring’ of the arteries, as oral bacteria’s similarity to proteins which cause arteries to fur confuses the immune system.

Jan 2006 – PERICAR trial, a collaboration between AustraliaÂ’s Sydney Dental Hospital and Royal North Shore Hospital and NorwayÂ’s University of Oslo. Strong evidence that treating gum disease can reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Inflammation in the mouth has a measurable effect in the bloodstream and the rest of the body. Once the gum infection was eradicated the risk of heart attacks and future blood clots was reduced. (Taylor, Tofler et al; Journal of Dental Research, January 2006)


• November 2008 – Columbia University (USA) publishes evidence of links from periodontal disease to type 2 diabetes. Of 9,000 participants in the study 800 developed diabetes. Those with high levels of periodontal disease were twice as likely to develop diabetes.(Demmer, Desvarieux et al, Diabetes Care)

• July 2007 – The Department of Periodontology at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) finds link between gum disease and pre-diabetes, often a precursor to type-2 diabetes. Dr. Carla Pontes Andersen said: “The gum inflammation seen in periodontitis can allow bacteria and inflammatory substances from the dental structures to enter the bloodstream. These processes seem to affect blood sugar control.” (Pontes Anderson, Flyybjerg et al; Journal of Periodontology)


December 2008 – researchers in Finland question 328 women on oral health and pregnancy, those who needed urgent dental treatment, suggesting poor oral health, were 2.5 times more likely to miscarry. (Heimonen et al, Blackwell Publishing July 2007 – Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Chile finds link between gum disease and premature births. One in three women at risk of premature labour presented with gum disease bacteria in their amniotic fluid, as well as their mouth.
o Amniotic fluid surrounds an unborn baby. Scientists believe that any disruption to this fluid could pose a danger to both mother and baby, especially as hormone changes in pregnant women expose a greater risk of gum disease. (Leon, Silva et al; Journal of Periodontolog


• June 2006 – University of California scientists found that gum disease may contribute to clogged carotid arteries leading to an increased risk of a stroke. Blocked carotid arteries were much more common in people who had gum disease. (Chung, Friedlander et al, General Session & Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research)


February 2009 – Pilot study on 56 men by Hebrew University Hadassah School of Dental Medicine and Bikur Holim Hospital-based scientists in Israel suggests links between gum disease and low sperm counts.

About the British Dental Foundation

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent charity that along with its global arm, the International Dental Health Foundation, is dedicated to improving the oral health of the public by providing free and impartial dental advice, by running educational campaigns like National Smile Month and by informing and influencing the public, profession and government on issues such as mouth cancer awareness and water fluoridation.

Oral-B (P&G) is proud to be a Platinum supporter of National Smile Month 2009. The company is committed to supporting patient education and produces free literature covering manual & power brushes as well as floss usage. We are committed to working with the British dental Health foundation to improve oral health.

Scientists develop early-warning plaque detector


Liverpool: Scientists at the University of Liverpool have developed a new dental product to identify plaque build-up in the mouth before it is visible to the human eye.

The toothbrush-sized product has a blue light at its tip, which, when shone around the mouth and viewed through yellow glasses with a red filter, allows plaque to be seen easily as a red glow. The device, produced in collaboration with dental and healthcare developers, Inspektor Research Systems BV, has been designed for everyday use in the home.

Dentists currently use disclosing agents in tablet form to uncover tooth decay and plaque but these often stain the mouth and taste unpleasant. The new product, known as Inspektor TC, will be particularly useful for those who are vulnerable to dental diseases such as children and the elderly.

Children in the UK have had an average of 2.5 teeth filled or removed by the age of 15 because of tooth decay. In young people alone ÂŁ45 million is currently being spent every year on the problem.

Professor Sue Higham, from the University’s School of Dental Sciences, said: “It is extremely difficult to get rid of all plaque in the mouth. Left undisturbed it becomes what we call ‘mature’ plaque and gets thicker. This is what leads to gingivitis, or bleeding gums, and decay.

“Early stage plaque is invisible, and so this device will show people the parts of the mouth that they are neglecting when they brush their teeth, enabling them to remove plaque before it becomes a problem.

“Inspektor TC is designed so that people can easily incorporate it into their daily dental hygiene routine at home. We now hope to work with industry partners to develop this prototype so that people can use it in the home to identify plaque before any serious dental work is needed.”

The team has now received a Medical Futures Innovation Award for the product – a commendation which acknowledges significant innovation in science.

More information

1. Inspektor Research Systems BV is an industrial collaborator based in Norway which focuses on research and analysis to develop innovative dental and healthcare products.

2. Medical Futures Innovation Awards recognise groundbreaking ideas and products within the healthcare and business world that have the potential to transform peopleÂ’s lives. Past winners of the award have secured over ÂŁ80 million of funding from industry specialists for the manufacture of their product.

3. The University of Liverpool is a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive institutions in the UK. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations valued at more than ÂŁ93 million annually.


How to get healthier gums and teeth – The Orbit Complete Guide


The temptations of the festive season usually leave many of us in need of some New Year revitalisation. All the excesses of the party season often means starting a diet and exercise plan to help us look and feel slimmer, fitter and healthier.

But it’s not just a fitter and healthier body we should be concerned with – our teeth may also need some TLC. A month of consuming seasonal specialities means they may spend more time exposed to the consequences of sugar and carbohydrates, which is worsened by occasionally falling into bed after many a Christmas party without cleaning our teeth.

The good news is, by following our guide; both your mouth and midriff can get into great shape.

Top Tips for a healthy body and smile

A healthy mouth means a healthy body – doctors have already established link between gum disease and other medical problems. So a clean and healthy mouth can therefore improve your overall health.

When eating for a healthy mouth, there are important considerations – like eating nutritious meals, being aware of the amount and timing of consuming sugars and carbohydrates, and maintaining good oral hygiene after meals and snacks.

The key to a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle are eating the right amounts of a variety of foods, and being physically active. To help us eat well, the Food Standards Agency recommends that we choose foods from each of the five major food groups: breads, cereals, and other grains; fruits; vegetables; meat, poultry and fish; and milk, cheese and yogurt. An adequate supply of nutrients from all five food groups promotes healthy teeth and gums as well as a healthy body.

Eating foods that contain sugars and carbohydrates of any kind can contribute to tooth decay, if left unchecked. And foods you least expect contain sugar, however, they shouldnÂ’t be removed from our diets because many of them contain key nutrients and these foods also add pleasure to eating.

Healthy foods for teeth

Get some juicy gossip – drinking fruit juices and smoothies as part of a New Year ‘renewal” can help to boost vitamins, and are okay for your teeth if you pay attention to your oral care – check out our mouth and teeth MOT tips below.

Protective foods – some foods help protect against tooth decay. For example, hard cheese increases the flow of saliva. Cheese also contains calcium, phosphate and casein, a milk protein, which protects against demineralization. Finishing a meal with a piece of cheese helps counteract acids produced from carbohydrate foods eaten at the same meal. Milk also contains calcium, phosphate and casein, and the milk sugar, lactose, is less cariogenic than other sugars.

Know your carbs – most nutrition panels on food labels give values for carbohydrates, including a breakdown of sugars and starches. Read the labels and choose wisely to meet your energy and nutrient needs.

Chew on it

After a meal or snack, one of the easiest ways to help prevent the build up of plaque and eventual tooth decay is to chew sugarfree gum such as Orbit Complete™ after eating and drinking. That’s because the action of chewing stimulates saliva production – nature’s very own ingredient for getting rid of harmful acids in the mouth.

Saliva works its magic in three ways. First, it helps to dilute and wash away food and other debris left in the teeth and mouth after eating. Then it helps to neutralise the acids in the mouth. And as if that wasnÂ’t enough, the calcium, phosphate fluoride, and hydroxyl ions in saliva helps to protect against early damage of tooth enamel.

Plus, chewing sugarfree gum is a great way to freshen your breath after eating, and as an added bonus, chewing also keeps your mouth busy so you won’t be tempted to go back for seconds, or snack on your favourite nibble after your main meal – all good news if you’re trying to manage your weight and keep teeth healthy.

Mouth and teeth MOT

§ Choose your toothpaste wisely – Always make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride to help to strengthen and help protect the teeth

§ Use a new toothbrush – Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the tufts have become worn or splayed

§ Make a dentist appointment – If you do not visit your dentist regularly, make an appointment -the dentist can tell you how often you should have a check-up.

§ Chew sugarfree gum– Chewing sugarfree gum such as Orbit Complete™ as recommended by the British Dental Health Foundation has been clinically proven to help prevent the build up of plaque on teeth and to help to keep your teeth healthy, clean and fresh after meals and snacks

§ Floss and use mouthwash – To clean the areas that your brush may not be able to reach, dental floss and special brushes clean in-between your teeth. Using mouthwash can also help to freshen breath and kill bacteria.

For further information British Dental Association; British Dental Health Foundation; British Dental Hygientists’; WrigleyÂ’s Orbit Complete™; Wrigley


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Cranberries give mouth germs the slip

Los Angeles: Cranberry juice may help prevent tooth decay by creating a non-stick surface on teeth, researchers in the US have discovered.

The juice of the fruit has long been used for treating infections of the urinary tract, and researchers believe it may be the same compounds that prevent fillings.

Tooth decay usually begins with a build-up of dental plaque, a film of bacteria on the tooth surface. It is believed the active cranberry compound, thought to include antioxidants, prevents the bacteria getting a grip. Research at the universities of California and Rochester shows that cranberry is active against the damaging effects of the streptococcus mutans bacteria, which causes dental caries. Now scientists are looking at the idea of isolating cranberry’s key anti-decay compounds and adding these to toothpastes and mouthwashes.

Mineral water protects teeth from acids

Dundee: Mineral water has been found to protect teeth from erosion, says a study at the University of Dundee.

Just two glasses a day offer protection to children from acids even if they continue to drink damaging fizzy drinks.

Erosion caused by carbonated drinks, fruit juices and other foods wear down enamel making teeth sensitive.

The study looked at the lifestyles of 200 youngsters aged 11-13 and the effect on tooth erosion and concluded that the best prevention was fluroid toothpaste.

Dr Graham Chadwick, of Dundee University’s School of Dentistry said that results revealed that minerals in the water offer some protection from acids.


Vegetarians more likely to suffer dental decay

Dundee: Cooking methods may increase the acidity of foods, therby increasing dental erosion, researchers at the University of Dundee have found. The research was prompted by the premise that vegetarians may be more at risk from dental decay because the vegetables and fruits they eat are higher in acids than foods in a usual diet.

They looked at the classic French dish Ratatouille, a vegetable stew which has a high tomato, garlic and olive oil content, and discovered that roasting the vegetables first made it almost as acidic as some carbonated drinks.

The research team was led by Dr Graham Chadwick in the School of Dentistry, which found that although the dish was acidic, roasting it made it more so.

Dental erosion is caused by the direct contact of acid with the teeth. The acid destroys tooth tissues and can result in severe destruction, leading to the need for expensive and time-consuming dental treatment.

The Dundee team also investigated whether the cooking method had an impact on the acidities of individual vegetables and fruits. They found the cooking method had no impact on the acidity of tomatoes or onions, but roasting resulted in more acidic aubergines, green peppers and courgettes. Red peppers were more acidic when stewed.

The research is published in the current edition of the European Journal of Prosthodontics and Restorative Dentistry. It is one in a series of research projects being carried out at the University looking into the causes of dental erosion.

Tooth-decay on the increase amongst pets, say US researchers

Dogs and cats need regular dental care, say experts at the leading pet nutrition company, Iams.

Just like humans they can suffer from gum disease and broken teeth. Although the shape of their teethcombined with a low-carbyhydrate diet means they are unlikely to suffer from decay.

Owners are advised to get professional dental care for pet’s teetch, including regular brushing and cleaning and also toys to chew on.

Periodontal disease, which affects the gums, bones, and connective tissue around the teeth, can cause tooth loss. First, plaque—a soft, clear or cream-colored deposit—forms on the teeth. If it isn’t removed, minerals in the animal’s saliva turn plaque into tartar. Tartar builds up below the gums and bacteria grow, causing inflammation.

The same bacteria which cause the inflammation can enter your pet’s bloodstream and cause or aggravate lung, kidney, liver, and heart problems—a lot of trouble from something that could be stopped in its early stages.

Dental care for pets should be started when the animal is a puppy or kitten so that they become accustomed to having their mouths handled. It also helps with general training and obedience.

The right foods also assist in dental health. For example dry foods and treats help clean plaqye from the teeth and rawhide chews are also good cleaning tools, as are a number of knobby plastic toys on the market. None of these are hard enough to cause tooth damage, but you need to watch your pet to be sure small pieces of the toys aren’t torn off and swallowed. Real bones can also be dangerous for your pet and should not be used for teeth cleaning purposes.

Train pets to accept brushing by running a finger gently over the pet’s gums, starting with the outside then try inside as the animal gets used to the routine. Next try wrapping a finger with gauze and rubbing the gums and if this is successful use pet toothpaste. After a few weeks the pet should be willing to accept a pet toothbrush, which should be used with gentle upand down strokes, twice weekly.

If a pet won’t allow this then a vet should be consulted and he may consider using a general anaesthetic to enable the animals teeth to be cleaned.