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Oral Health Given The Brush Off This New Year

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Oral Health Given The Brush Off This New Year

Despite 94% of people rating their oral health as very important to their overall wellbeing, when it comes to New Year resolutions, it seems priorities are in need of a check-up, with less than 4% saying they plan to take better care of their teeth[i].

In a survey commissioned to gauge consumer attitudes towards health and wellbeing by sugarfree chewing gum EXTRA® Professional, only 6% of respondents said they would add regular visits to the dentist as a way of doing that little bit extra for their overall health, falling well behind intentions to eat healthier foods or take the stairs instead of the lift.

Oral Health: a key indicator of our general wellbeing Consultant dietitian and exercise physiologist Caitlin Reid says the results demonstrate a concerning gap between knowledge and action, and stresses that the link between our oral health and general wellbeing shouldn't be underestimated.

"The survey shows that losing weight and improving fitness are our top New Year resolutions, but oral health has slipped down the priority list. While it's fantastic that people want to get more active, recent studies have shown concerning associations between poor oral health and other health issues such as heart disease and diabetes[ii]. There's more to looking after your health than just looking good on the outside," Ms Reid said.

Oral health also loses out when it comes to the physical attributes that respondents feel are most important. Clear skin was the overall winner (49%), however men are more likely to rate the importance of a healthy smile and white teeth over women. More than 50% of men believe white teeth and a healthy smile are the most important physical attributes compared to only 38% of women.

Older really does mean wiser More than half of the survey respondents who rated oral health as very important to their overall health were aged over 65, while only 17% were aged 18-24. Research has shown that by their late 30's, the average person is expected to suffer serious decay in at least 10 teeth[iii], so 18-24 year olds may want to re-think their attitudes and oral health routines before it's too late.

"It doesn't need to be complicated," says Ms Reid. "Younger people often have very busy lives, but a handy and convenient way to complement a healthy oral care routine is to keep a packet of sugarfree chewing gum handy. EXTRA Professional contains microgranuals, which allows you to get that 'just brushed clean' feeling, even when you're on the go," she continued.

The benefits of chewing EXTRA sugarfree gum are recognised by the FDI World Dental Federation, and the New Zealand Dental Association recommends chewing sugarfree gum after eating and drinking to maintain good oral health.

EXTRA interesting take-outs from the survey: Partner pressure: Forget peer pressure and the watchful eye of a personal trainer, when it comes to sticking to New Year resolutions, more than a quarter of Aussie males feel pressured by their partners.

All it takes is a little bit extra: 84% of respondents believe that the key to improving their overall health is to make small changes to their existing routine and habits, rather than completely reinventing their routine. Fighting a losing battle: Losing weight is the top health related New Year Resolution for 2011, closely followed by improving fitness. However this may prove tricky as less than 10% plan to improve their diet.

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