One in five Brits visit the dentist only when there’s a problem with their teeth

teethAlmost one in five (18%) Brits only visit the dentist when they think they have a problem with their teeth.

New research from Mintel found that 21% of men will only visit the dentist if they have a problem with their teeth, while 15% of women admit to only attending when they have a problem.

The research also found that 10% of respondents admitted to treating dental pain at home, with 20-24 year-olds the worst culprits (18%).

‘Many Brits are failing to visit the dentist every six months as recommended by the NHS, and in some cases people are even choosing to treat issues at home instead of seeking professional advice,’ Hera Crossan, research analyst at Mintel, says.

‘Consumers are afraid both of the cost and time associated with visiting the dentist – the pain of the treatment can hit them in the wallet as much as in the mouth.’

Brushing habits

Three in 10 Brits haven’t visited a dentist in the last six months, despite 65% admitting dental problems can have an impact on overall health.

Despite this, most Brits care about their oral health, with 63% brushing their teeth twice a day, 23% only brushing their teeth once a day and 11% brushing their teeth more than twice a day.

The use of Mouthwash however, seems to be reducing, 71% of Brits used mouthwash in 2014 while in 2017 this has dropped to 56%.

‘Despite professional guidance on how frequently to brush teeth, floss or use mouthwash, a sizeable proportion of adults are not following them, which could result in long-term damage to their oral health,’ Hera says.

‘This indicates that brands and dental care professionals could benefit from working together to give confused consumers a more coherent message about desired frequency.’


More than two in five (46%) of Brits have tried regular whitening toothpaste, and would try it again.

Worryingly, only half of Brits believe teeth whitening products should only be conducted by a dental care professional.

‘Although younger adults are better acquainted with the whitening trend, their desire for whiter teeth could be detrimental to their overall oral health if they seek out lower-cost alternatives,’ Hera concludes.

‘Indeed, there does remain a concern that a focus on whitening could result in some consumers seeking out more extreme – and potentially harmful – solutions online, particularly if they are looking to cut costs on professional services or specialist whitening products.’

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