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New research: public health guidelines for oral health are not aligned with today’s eating habits

18 October 2017

A new report has revealed that current public health guidelines for oral health are not aligned with our eating and drinking habits. The gap between what and when we eat and drink, and the measures we take to protect our teeth may be a contributing factor to the high prevalence of tooth decay. Tooth decay continues to be a major problem in the UK, placing significant burden not just on individuals but also on dental care professionals, the NHS and society.

Data from a new independent survey shows most respondents (83%) consume at least one snack between meals and almost half (48%) enjoy two snacks or more per day, however no oral health intervention is made after 56% of morning snacks and 60% of afternoon snacks1. Taking into account this ‘grazing’ culture, it suggests that our oral health routines may not be sufficient and further interventions are required.  


The Eat, Drink, Think report recommends that the current guidelines should be broadened to ensure that people are taking the necessary steps to protect their teeth when they are most prone to plaque acid attack and when brushing is not possible.

Dr Ben Atkins, a general dental practitioner, says: “Brushing twice a day remains the single most effective preventative oral health measure, but as the Eat, Drink, Think report indicates, eating and drinking habits have changed and patient’s attitudes to oral health must adapt too. The use of sugarfree gum can supplement existing oral health routines, and this should be reflected in the current guidelines.”

To download and read the full Eat, Drink, Think report visit the Research & Evidence section on the website. For further information on the report and on the benefits of chewing sugarfree gum, please contact: WOHP@webershandwick.com

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