One per cent of us never use a toothbrush
Which member of Girls Aloud has just had cosmetic dental work done? How many Brits never use a toothbrush?  Why is brushing your tongue so important and what links Genghis Khan with running a dental surgery? Find out by reading Ethicare’s round-up of March’s best dental news

Girls Aloud singer gets a tooth makeover

Nicola Roberts of the all-girl pop group Girls Aloud has good reason to be smiling so much these days. According to Now Magazine, Nicola (the pale, ginger lady in the band) has spent £13,000 on having her teeth whitened. An unnamed friend told Now that Nicola has had veneers fitted after wearing clear braces of the type produced by Invisalign.

London is the most likely place for the star to have received her treatment; the source revealed that band mate Cheryl Cole advised Nicola to get the work done.

The before-and-after photos certainly prove how successful the makeover has been.

Adult Dental Health Survey

The second set of results from the once-a-decade Adult Dental Health survey contains good news and bad news. The good news is that ten per cent of British adults have “excellent oral health”.

It is also heartening that the proportion of British adults with no natural teeth has reduced dramatically since 1978 when 28 per cent of Brits were toothless.
Today just six per cent of the adult population have no teeth.

The bad news is that one in five of us have postponed vital dental check-ups and treatment because of financial worries.

Alarmingly, only three out of every four adults brush their teeth the recommended twice-a-day. One per cent claim to never use a toothbrush.

Over one in ten (12 per cent) admitted to suffering “extreme anxiety” about the prospect of having their teeth drilled or having an injection administered into the gums; a good reason why dentists like Ethicare have created nervous patient programs.

Tooth loss ‘increases the risk of a stroke’

How many teeth have you still got in your mouth? Adults should have 32 teeth and a new study suggests that if you’ve got less than 24 you are 60 per cent more vulnerable to having a stroke.

Researchers at Hiroshima University in Japan looked inside the mouths of 358 patients and found that stroke patients in their 50s and 60s had considerably less teeth than patients who hadn’t had a stroke.

Brush your tongue!

Other Japanese researchers, this time at Nippon University, have been looking into another dental issue: whether bad breath originates from the mouth or the tongue.

Somewhat surprisingly, they found that many types of bacteria are more likely to produce poor oral odours if they live on the tongue rather than the mouth – in fact, some only cause bad breath when they occur on the tongue.

It is easy to forget to brush your tongue but reading the report, which has been published in the Odontology journal, serves as a good reminder that teeth aren’t the only thing that needs brushing!

Dentist wins oddest book title of the year award

And finally, a book called ‘Managing a Dental Practice the Genghis Khan Way’ has won the prize for having the oddest book title of the year.

Author Michael R Young wrote the book to highlight how the leadership techniques of 13th century Mongolian warlord Khan can be successfully transferred to the 21st century art of running a dentist’s practice.

Mr Young does not suggest that dentists should ensure their surgery run smoothly by massacring entire civilian populations and invading Central Asia and China. But he does believe that Khan (were he still alive) would have a lot to teach dental practices about team building, managing conflict situations and planning for disaster.

Previous winners of the prize have included The Joy of Chickens (1980), Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality (1986) and Living with Crazy Buttocks (2002).

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