Dental Tips | 04 November, 2019

Study finds shocking Kiwi dental habits

A new study has found that the dietary and dental habits of thousands of Kiwis are contributing to symptoms of preventable tooth damage.

The study found 35 per cent of respondents visited their dentist less often than every two years. The cost being the main reason people put off going.

It also found half of Kiwis floss less than once a week. The NZ Dental Health Association president and dentist Anna Holyoake said they recommending flossing at least once daily.

“There is a noticeable variation in dental hygiene practices across the country and a number of fundamentals that need to be improved if we are to see better oral health outcomes as a nation,” Ms Holyoake said.

“Regular flossing is a key one. As is brushing twice a day for at least two minutes which will help keep more fluoride on the teeth.

“At the same time, visiting your dental health professional at least once a year to have your teeth assessed and cleaned is important.”

Ms Holyoake said the new research, funded by sensitive toothpaste company Sensodyne, showed the major impact of food acids on oral health.

“Food acids are added to make flavours ‘sharper’, and may act as preservatives and antioxidants. These additives are found in a wide variety of food and beverages, even those without high levels of sugar such as herbal teas - which can be as acidic as soft drinks,” she said.

Ms Holyoake said the impact of acidic foods on teeth was not as well-recognised as the impact of sugar.

“Overconsumption of acidic food and beverages can cause damage to tooth enamel,” Ms Holyoake said.