Kiwis’ oral health habits leave a lot to be desired according to new research which reveals over a third (34%) of New Zealanders brush their teeth just once a day. Further, of those, one in ten are brushing once a week or even less frequently.
The new research from Lumino also found that two-thirds (65%) of Kiwis only visit the dentist if they have a problem or avoid the dentist altogether. Of those, over half (53%) describe their oral health as poor or terrible.
Lumino Clinical Advisor, Dr Prashant J Kalyan, says the research raises serious concerns about the state of the nation’s oral health and is urging Kiwis to take care of their teeth before it’s too late.
“Poor oral health has wider implications on our overall health and wellbeing, and has been linked to serious health problems including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, pregnancy complications and more ,” says Dr Kalyan.
“With one third of Kiwis not even brushing their teeth the recommended twice a day, there’s a concern that, as a nation, we’re going to start seeing some very real health problems.”
Despite a lack of proper care, Kiwis are very much concerned about the appearance of their teeth with almost half (44%) having at some point felt uncomfortable smiling because of how their teeth looked.
Despite this, we’re not always prioritising oral health when it comes to how we spend money on things related to wellbeing. While one quarter (26%) of all Kiwis put oral care first, the research showed that women are just as likely to spend on skincare (24%) while men would rather invest in a holiday (29%).
Despite these findings New Zealanders do understand they’re neglecting their teeth with three quarters (78%) agreeing it’s easy to take your oral health for granted. Further, more than half (54%) wish they had taken better care of their teeth when they were younger, particularly those aged 30-39 (60%).
“Neglecting your oral health can lead to any number of issues down the track and if you hold off it will only make issues worse and more expensive to deal with,” adds Dr Kalyan.
“But there is good news. The most effective way to maintain your oral health is regular dentist and hygienist check-ups as well as diligent home care. Being proactive about maintenance checks, as you would be with servicing your car, will go a long way to reducing the risk of Kiwis’ oral health deteriorating so I urge Kiwis to focus on a preventative strategy.
If it has been a while between visits, or you’re experiencing symptoms like sensitivity, pain, bad breath or inflamed and bleeding gums it’s definitely time to book an appointment.”
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