Three in ten Brits only brush their teeth once a day

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
October 23, 2017, 8:14 AM GMT+0

Most once-a-day brushers forgo their evening scrub

New YouGov Omnibus research on the nation’s oral hygiene habits reveals that three in ten Brits don't get a toothbrush around their gnashers the recommended two times a day.

Asked whether they brushed their teeth in the morning, evening, or at any other time, three in ten Brits (29%) say that they only brush their teeth on one occasion each day. Most people (59%) follow the standard practice of brushing their teeth twice daily, while a further 8% brush their teeth three times or more. A further one in fifty Brits (or 2%) say they don’t brush their teeth at all on a typical day.

In terms of what time of day they give their teeth a good scrub, Brits are more likely to brush them in the morning (87%) than the evening (72%). Of those who say they only brush their teeth once a day, 70% say they do so in the morning and only 23% clean them in the evening.

This is bad news for the nation's oral health; the NHS specifically recommend brushing before bed, but do not specify that the morning brush is a necessity (simply saying that people should brush them on “one other occasion every day”). Failing to brush in the evening gives bacteria all night to feast on sugars from food and mouth acids while the body’s natural daytime saliva defences are down.

On top of the nation’s lacklustre brushing regime, the vast majority of Brits don't floss either. Only 31% of people say they clean between their teeth on a typical day, despite NHS guidance stating that from the age of 12 people should floss, or use interdental brushes, as part of their daily oral health routine.

Men are more likely to have dirty mouths than women

As tends to be the case with matters of personal hygiene, men are more likely to brush their teeth infrequently. One third (33%) only brush their teeth once a day, compared to around a quarter (26%) of women. Men are also less likely to floss than women (25% vs 36%).

Working class people (those in the C2DE socio-economic grade) are brushing less frequently than their middle class (ABC1) counterparts. While a quarter (25%) of middle class people only brush once a day, this rises to 35% of working class people. However, both groups are just about as likely to floss as one another (32% for middle class and 29% for working class).

Photo: Getty

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