Smiley face

Dental attendance statistics, the emergence of electric toothbrushes and a poll to find out the most attractive physical feature – just three of the five reasons why the UK should be upbeat about dental health

With the news headlines dominated by depressing talk of ash clouds and super-injunctions, it is easy to forget that we are currently in National Smile Month.

Organised by the British Dental Health Foundation charity, National Smile Month runs from May 15th to June 15th and is dedicated to improving the public’s oral health.

In keeping with the month’s smiley theme, here are some reasons why people in the UK should feel optimistic about the thought of looking after their teeth.

Our dental health really is improving!

Glafcos Tombolis, who runs the Ethicare practice with his wife Klaudia, is an expert on all-things teeth-related; including hygiene, root canal treatment and dental implants. London, where Ethicare is based, is the home of many of Dr Tombolis’s patients. He thinks that over the past few years the patients who have come through his surgery’s door have become more conscious of their appearance.

He said: “This has resulted in people taking greater care of their dental health. Standards have definitely improved and initiatives like National Smile Month definitely serve as timely reminders of the importance of brushing and flossing.”

Look at the statistics!

The latest data from the British Dental Health Foundation’s (BDHF) also emphasise how the nation’s dental health standards are improving. Did you know that 71 per cent of adults in England are free of visible dental decay on the surfaces of their crowns?

Another heartening statistic is that the  proportion of the population with no natural teeth in England, Northern Ireland and Wales has fallen to just six per cent. In 1978 this figure was as high as 44 per cent in England!

The pride of Europe – The National Smile Month website quotes figures which show that 61 per cent of adults in England attend their dentists regularly. In Europe, only the Netherlands’ citizens have a better dental check-up attendance record.

Dr Tombolis believes that British dental has now improved so much that we should be striving to match the level of dental health enjoyed in the USA and Australia, rather than Europe.

Breakthroughs in technology – advances in dental science are making teeth easier and cheaper to look after than ever. The major change in dental care since the major dental survey of 1978 has arguably been the appearance of electric toothbrushes on supermarkets’ and chemists’ shelves.

Dr Tombolis said: “The patients of mine who have switched from manual to electric toothbrushes have all reported that their dental health has come on in leaps and bounds.”

Good teeth = attractiveness – it’s now official; a smile is the most attractive physical attribute

A British Dental Health Foundation poll in April 2011 found that a good smile is rated highly as an attractive quality by 56 per cent of UK people. This makes a smile even more important than facial appearance (rated highly by 53 per cent), eyes (25 per cent), dress sense, hair and height (25 per cent).

Only personality was rated more highly than a good smile in the poll but then perhaps a good smile will give you confidence and improve your personality even further.

Another attractive reason to stay cheerful when you next brush your teeth in the bathroom mirror!

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