National Smile Month

Facts & Figures!


Brushing twice a day

One in four adults don’t brush twice a day, including a third of men

One in ten admit they regularly forget to brush their teeth

Cleaning habits

42% of adults use just a toothbrush and toothpaste for their oral care

31% of adults use mouthwash too

One in four have never used mouthwash

21% of adults use dental floss regularly

One in three have never flossed their teeth

Visits to the dentist

61% of adults in England, 60% in Northern Ireland and 69% in both Wales and Scotland now attend their dentists regularly. In 1978, the figure was just 44% in England and 39% in Wales

Half of adults say they visit their dentist every 6 months

21% of adults say they visit their dentist annually

The UK is one of the most likely nations in Europe to visit their dentist for a check-up – helping to prevent the battle against poor oral health. The UK was ranked second (72%), after the Netherlands (79%)

Around 2% of the population have never visited a dentist

27% of adults only visit their dentist when they have a problem

Tooth loss and dentures

Only 6% of adults have no natural teeth. In 1978, the figure was as high as 37% in Wales

74% of all adults have had a tooth extracted

19% cent of adults have full or partial dentures

The number of adults with 21 or more natural teeth has risen to 86% in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In 1978, this was as low as 68% in Northern Ireland

Children’s oral health

Two in three children aged 12 are now found to be free of visible dental decay. In 1973, this figure was less than one in ten

The dental health of five year old children is even better – just 27% show any obvious dental decay


88% of adults have no dental insurance

63% use NHS dentists for cost reasons

19% have delayed their treatment due to cost

One in ten would cut oral care products from their shopping list for financial reasons

Dental anxiety

One in every seven adults who had ever been to a dentist suffers from extreme dental anxiety

Women are more likely to suffer from extreme dental anxiety than men

The most common fears for visiting a dentist are having a tooth drilled (30%) and having a local anaesthetic injection (28%)

Visiting the Dentist is ranked number one (22%) for making people nervous, closely followed by heights (19%). Nearly 10 times as many people (22%) are nervous of visiting their dentists, compared to their doctor (2%)

Other oral health indicators

84% of all adults have at least one or more fillings

Each adult has an average of 7 fillings

31% of adults have tooth decay

66% have visible plaque

29% suffer from regular dental pain

Only 5% recycle their old toothbrushes. 59% throw them away. Around 35% use them for a difference purpose such as cleaning and other household chores

Fun facts

Half of us brush our tongue when we brush our teeth

It takes 43 muscles to frown but only 17 to smile

Earrings, business cards, keys, matchsticks and screwdrivers – just some of the bizarre objects we admit to using to get food particles out of our teeth

On a night out, 80% of us would be more likely to talk to somebody we didn’t know if they smiled at us

A ‘smile’ comes top of the things we first notice when meeting a new person

More than half of us wouldn’t tell a friend or colleague if they had bad breath in fear of risking a friendship

Teeth/Smiles are rated the second most important attraction feature, after personality, and the most important body feature surveyed (including body shape, height, hair, face and eyes).In contrast, nearly half the population are unhappy with their teeth (48%) with discoloured teeth (64 per cent) the main reason for being unhappy

More than half of us would share our toothbrush with somebody: 24% to our partner, 18% to our child, 7% to a friend and 6% to a celebrity

Almost 60% of us say we regularly floss, however, sales in the UK indicate that the true figure is actually more like 5%

One in five of us cannot remember when we last changed our toothbrush

One in four think electric toothbrushes are for lazy people while a third believe they do not have to brush for as long when using one

One in five says that fluoride is a marketing gimmick

A toothbrush came top of the list of things we could not do without when we go on holiday

If we only had five minutes to get ready in the morning, one in twenty would skip brushing our teeth

More than half of us think Brits have bad teeth

The colour yellow makes us smile the most, whereas purple makes us smile the least

Chocolate comes top of the foods that make us smile the most, followed then by Sunday roast, a curry and a fry-up


When seeking a new partner, a smile is top of the most sought after physical attributes, beating body shape, dress sense and eyes

Posted: 26.05.2016 | news index »