12 million Brits move to electric toothbrushes

The number of British adults cleaning their teeth with an electric toothbrush has surpassed those using a manual one for the first time, according to the findings of a new nationwide study. The new data shows that nearly 12 million people in the UK have switched to an electric toothbrush over the last five years.

Around two-in-three (67%) adults now use an electric toothbrush – an estimated 34 million people – an increase of 52%. The research has been conducted by the Oral Health Foundation and Oral-B as part of National Smile Month – a charity campaign to raise awareness about the importance of having good oral health.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, believes as the science behind the advantages of electric toothbrushes mounts, the decision whether to invest in one becomes much easier. “The strong and clear evidence is that electric toothbrushes are better for our oral health. Electric toothbrushes, especially those with heads that rotate in both directions, or ‘oscillating’ heads, are more effective at removing plaque than a manual brush.  This helps keep tooth decay and gum disease at bay.

“As technology has developed, the cost of having an electric toothbrush becomes even more affordable. Battery-powered toothbrushes are available for as little as £10 while electric brushes can be had for as little as £40. Whilst at the other end of the spectrum there are top end power brushes which have all the latest innovations such as artificial intelligence. Given the advantages of electric toothbrushes, having one is an excellent investment and could really benefit the health of your mouth.”

Recent data presented in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, found that electric toothbrushes led to 22% less gum recession and 18% less tooth decay over the 11-year period.

The charity’s research shows that nearly half (45%) make the switch to electric brushes because they believe it cleans better than a manual brush.  More than one-in-four (27%) invest in an electric toothbrush on the advice of their dentist.

Technology also seems to be a growing trend for why people have moved to electric toothbrushes.  Around one-in-seven (18%) buy an electric toothbrush because of features like in-built timers or that they can be connected to apps which keep a track on how well you are brushing.  Others simply enjoy having it as a gadget. 

Eva Castro Perea, Professional & Academic Manager, Oral-B believes new technology has allowed more people to take a greater interest in the health of their mouth. “Over the last five years we have seen tremendous advances in oral healthcare technology.  There are now electric toothbrushes that alert you to areas in the mouth you have missed, or let you know if you are brushing too hard, or not hard enough.  By having new access to your brushing habits and behaviours allows you to be a more effective brusher, which will in turn give you a healthier mouth. Other features such as in-build timers, allow users to track two minutes in a more reliable way.  This is especially important for children and has been shown to be an excellent motivator for them.”

Despite the benefits of using an electric toothbrush, one-in-three (33%) adults in the UK still use a manual toothbrush. Findings from the Oral Health Foundation show that manual brushing is closely related to both age and household income.

The charity says whether you currently use an electric toothbrush or not, it is important that you are following a good oral health routine.

Dr Carter adds: “If you follow a good oral health routine then whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush, you’ll have a healthy mouth either way. That means brushing for two minutes, twice a day, with a fluoride toothpaste.  Brushing should be done last thing at night and at one other time during the day. A daily oral health routine would not be complete without cleaning in between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes and using mouthwash. Both can help to remove plaque bacteria from the mouth and keep your teeth and gums healthy.”

As part of National Smile Month, the Oral Health Foundation and Oral-B are hosting The Great British Brushathon on Wednesday 3 June. The event will ask people to post a video of themselves on social media brushing their teeth. The charity says the activity will help promote the value of tooth brushing and having a healthy smile.

To learn more about The Great British Brushathon and National Smile Month, visit www.smilemonth.org.

Philips Oral Healthcare #habits4life campaign returns for 2020

Philips Oral Healthcare is a sponsor of National Smile Month and is reactivating is #habits4life campaign for 2020 due to its success last year. This campaign aims to drive the importance and education around three key oral care habits and create ‘habits4life’ so that, on a daily basis, people can take control of their own oral health with the ultimate aim of living healthier lives.

The three pillars of the campaign are:

  1. Visit your dentist – visiting your dentist regularly helps prevent wider issues for both your oral health and ultimately systemic health
  2. Brush your teeth with an electric toothbrush and floss – taking good care of your oral hygiene ensures a healthier mouth and body
  3. Healthy nutrition (reducing sugar reduces obesity/diabetes risk) and introducing ‘Sugar Swaps’ is recommended as a healthy diet leads to a healthier life

Dr Ben Atkins, President of the Oral Health Foundation, commented: “Philips three pillars dovetail with those of the Oral Health Foundation. I applaud the preventive ethos the company is recommending – that developing habits for life is vital if patients are going to achieve both a reduction in levels of decay and periodontal disease. If this also achieves improved knowledge about the systemic risks associated with poor oral health – so so much the better.

“I am working with Philips on a campaign to drive behavioural change in patients as part of a prevent approach which I believe is not only much more ethical and responsible, but is a far more sustainable model for the profession.”

Dental charity’s new website gives new opportunities to campaign for better oral health

The Oral Health Foundation has re-launched its website, with the focus on giving its supporters more opportunities to be actively involved in raising awareness of important causes.

The new online platform not only allows visitors to support all the charity’s campaigns and activities, such as National Smile Month (which is now underway for 2018), but also gives many more chance to participate in them.

The website (www.dentalhealth.org) also houses its own dedicated fundraising platform, which means that individuals and groups can create and share their own fundraising efforts and raise money for a series of charitable causes related to oral health.  

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, is excited by the possibilities brought by the new website.

Dr Carter said: “For more than 45 years’ we have worked with people and organisations who are passionate about raising awareness of oral health. This new website is all about providing these supporters with a platform which will make campaigning for oral health issues easier and more effective.

“Our new home also allows you to take a more in-depth look at who we are and what we do. Our charitable activities and the causes we support sometimes go under the radar, so we are delighted to be better able to share our successes with our supporters, the ones who make it all possible.”

As part of the launch, the charity’s patient-facing information, which was accessed by more than three million visitors last year, has been adapted to make it simpler for people to find what they need.

The Oral Health Foundation has also delivered a multi-language portal, which allows users to access all their oral health information across nine other world languages.

“It has been a remarkable project and one that we hope can have a real and tangible effect on the general public’s knowledge about oral health.

“More than 600,000 words have been translated by native-language speakers to ensure patients from as many countries as possible have access to trusted oral health information. These can also be used by health professionals for non-English speaking patients, with confidence and reassurance about the quality of information.”  

Visitors can also read about the latest oral health news, take interest in a series of new blogs and read the charity’s digital magazine.

The Oral Health Foundation’s Dental Helpline will also be available for those seeking answers to their oral health questions. The free advice line is staffed by fully trained and qualified dental experts and has been a useful tool for health professionals looking to point patients in the right direction in between appointments.

The charity is also excited to announce the launch of a brand-new online shop, which makes it easier for dental teams and oral health educators to find and purchase all the products they for oral health promotion.

Director of Educational Resources at the charity, Amanda Oakey, said: “Oral health promoters and professionals see such a wide range of people throughout the course of their careers and all these people require different needs.

“That’s why we spend a great deal of time producing high quality information and oral hygiene products to health professionals for their patients and local community.

“Our new online shop features our entire catalogue of more than 500 products and is incredible easy-to-use. I urge anybody involved in promoting oral health to go online and take a look.”

The redesigned website is live now at www.dentalhealth.org.

New BOS survey reveals a rise in the number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment in the UK

New figures released by The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) to coincide with National Smile Month, which kicked-off yesterday (14 May), has revealed the number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment in the UK continues to rise.

This survey, conducted in March 2018 among BOS members, was designed to gather new data about orthodontics and patient choices in the UK compared to two years ago.

Asked if they were seeing an increase in private adult treatment, 80 per cent said yes. This figure compares to 75 per cent in 2016. When asked what kind of braces they provide to their patients, orthodontists revealed a cross section of approaches:

  • Over 75 per cent supply fixed braces with clear aesthetic brackets
  • Over 35 per cent supply lingual braces (fixed behind the teeth)
  • Over 75 per cent supply clear aligners

The survey showed that adult patients are most likely to be female and in the 26 to 40 age bracket. However, the number of men seeking treatment appears to be on the rise. 19 per cent of the respondents to the survey estimate that half of their adult patients are male. This compares to 13 per cent in 2016.

The most popular system, provided by more than 98 per cent of orthodontists, is fixed braces on the front of the teeth, often referred to as ‘train tracks’. This figure reflects the high number of young people treated as NHS patients for whom fixed braces is the most appropriate option.

A quarter of BOS members responded to the survey. Of those who answered the survey, 27 per cent see only NHS patients while 67 per cent see both private and NHS patients.

Richard George, BOS Director of External Relations, commented: “It’s gratifying to see the number of adults interested in orthodontic treatment continuing to rise. If you are interested in treatment for yourself, it’s important to seek an opinion from a professional who has the training and skill to diagnose and treat a variety of orthodontic issues. Our members, specialists and dentists with a special interest, offer a range of options for adults, enabling them to provide a solution to any kind of orthodontic problem. The value of choice cannot be over-estimated.”