Younger adults less likely than over 55s to understand benefits of toothbrushing

Younger adults are six times less likely than the over 55s to understand benefits of toothbrushing to reduce cariesYounger adults are six times less likely than the over 55s to understand benefits of toothbrushing to reduce caries.

This is according to a new study carried out by the Oral Health Foundation and Colgate-Palmolive.

The research looked into the knowledge of UK adults surrounding dental caries and disease.

Caries risk

It revealed that one in three (33%) were unable to identify ‘brushing teeth’ as an action that could help prevent caries.

Half of respondents (54%) did not link more regular dental visits with lower caries risk. And more than one quarter (26%) were unaware that high carb diets can contribute to increased risk.

In addition, it exposed a lack of awareness around other major risk factors of caries. This includes older age, drying mouth, and having a history of oral health restorations.

Tremendous opportunity

Dr Ben Atkins is president of the Oral Health Foundation. He says the results expose a knowledge gap that needs to be rectified.

‘Certainly when it comes to caries, it is clear from this research that more work needs to be done to educate younger adults. Both regarding prevention and what is likely to put them at higher risk,’ he said.

‘Despite this, it is encouraging that most young people are keen to learn more about this area of their health and wellbeing. It presents dental professionals with a tremendous opportunity to engage with this audience. We know they are more likely to skip brushing and regular dental visits.

‘Dental professionals are a in a great position to help patients of all ages better understand their oral health. This education can not only be done in the dental chair, it can also be done digitally on social media and through e-communications.

‘The latter has become increasingly important given the restrictions from the pandemic. Digital learning is also likely to play a key role in delivering the prevention aspects of the new dental contract.’

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