The principal representative body for more than one million dentists worldwide used the occasion of World Oral Health Day (held 20 March) to myth bust what people around the world believe to be good oral health practices, encouraging them to become better informed and take action accordingly.
The results from a survey carried out in 12 countries by FDI World Dental Federation exposed a significant gap between what people believe are good oral health practices, and what is actually the case.
In eight countries, 50 per cent or more of respondents thought it was important to brush your teeth straight after every main meal. Brazil, Mexico, Egypt and Poland were the worst offenders in this regard. In fact, FDI recommends waiting at least 30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth to avoid weakening tooth enamel.
In addition, many of those surveyed in Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, India and Canada, believed that rinsing the mouth out with water after brushing is important. Yet the recommendation is to delay rinsing with water straight after brushing to allow maximum exposure to fluoride, which will optimise its preventative effects.
In another surprise finding, nearly half the people surveyed in India, South Africa, Brazil and Poland felt that drinking fruit juice rather than fizzy drinks was important for good oral health. Fruit juice, however, can also be high in sugar which can cause tooth decay.
“These survey results highlight an alarming discrepancy between knowledge and actual good oral health practices,” said FDI president Dr Patrick Hescot.
“We want everyone to take control of their oral health this World Oral Health Day and understand that by adopting good oral hygiene habits, avoiding risk factors and having a regular dental check-up, they can help protect their mouths.”
WOHD Task Team chair Dr Edoardo Cavalle stated: “Understanding good oral health practices and adopting them early in life, will help to maintain optimal oral health into old age and ensure you live a long life free from physical pain and often emotional suffering caused by oral disease.”