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News / July 10, 2009

Survey reveals Irish dental habits

by Guy Hiscott

Over two-thirds of Irish people do not visit the dentist on a regular basis, according to a new survey by Landsdowne Marketing on behalf of Wrigley’s Orbit Complete.

The research reveals that only 32% of Irish people over 30 visit the dentist every six months, while 16% confess to going less than every two years. When it comes to which of the sexes is most likely to visit the dentist on a regular basis, women take the lead, with a conscientious 42% stating they visit the dentist every six months compared to 35% of men.

Aside from the lack of regular dental check-ups, the population’s oral care routine at home leaves a lot to be desired, with 36% of people polled saying they have never used dental floss and 14% saying they would only floss if they had a dental appointment coming up. Only a meagre 11% of Irish people claim to floss after each meal.

The findings also show that there appears to be a direct correlation between poor dental habits and tooth decay, with 61% of Irish people over 30 claiming to have lost at least one adult tooth in their lifetime and, alarmingly, over one-third (38%) of people have lost more than three adult teeth.

The research also suggests that people are less likely to visit the dentist the worst their dental health gets – 40% of people who have lost more than three teeth admitted to visiting the dentist less often than once a year.

When it comes to fighting plaque we fare a little better in our oral care habits, with % of people questioned saying they know what plaque is. One in 10 of us say that we chew sugarfree gum to help keep plaque at bay and over half claim to floss or brush or use mouthwash to stop the build-up of plaque. In addition, frequent flossers are more likely to have their adult teeth, with 14% of people who floss after each meal saying they have a complete set of teeth.

Commenting on the survey, Dr Tiernan O’Brien said that it is evident from these results that Irish people need to take a more active role in maintaining good oral care habits to prevent problems such as gum disease and tooth decay.