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‘Fad diets’ taking Brits to the dentist

3rd July 2019
Posted by Johnny Jenkins

They say, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’, but it turns out a meal replacement milkshake might not do the same with dentists. From fasting to 5:2, fad diets are becoming increasingly popular, but their impact on oral health is mostly misunderstood.

Today new research from Pronamel reveals the many misconceptions that UK adults have about their oral health – including the four in five (86%) people who don’t realise that fad diets can cause irreversible enamel erosion. In fact, only 14% believe fad diets can cause enamel erosion, with the most recognised side effect being fatigue – identified by 43%. Shockingly, a third (33%) of Brits don’t think these diets have any side effects at all.

Novel dietary habits aren’t the only behaviours jeopardising people’s teeth, with one in five people (20%) admitting that they only brush their teeth once a day. On top of that this lack of dental hygiene is often going unchecked, with 23% visiting their dentist less than once a year.

When it comes to teeth, looks can be deceiving as a pearly white smile does not automatically mean a healthy mouth. Two in five (38%) people assume their teeth are healthy if they are white, this number rises in millennials (25-34-year olds) and over 75-year olds to nearly half (47%), however experts reveal this isn’t necessarily true.

The research also uncovered where oral health ranks on people’s list of health priorities – coming below weight (54%) and diet (42%). A quarter (26%) admits they don’t go to the dentist when faced with an oral health problem, and 15% say they self-diagnose their oral health issues using the internet.

While over three quarters (78%) of people can correctly identify enamel and its role as the ‘hard exterior covering of a tooth that protects it from wear and tear’, many are still unaware of some of the most damaging food and drink for their teeth. Only a third of people are aware that beer (34%), prosecco (35%) and smoothies (36%) can cause enamel erosion.

A quarter (24%) of people are even unaware that the posterchild of tooth decay, fizzy drinks, could cause enamel erosion. Similarly, only half (50%) know that dark food and drinks such as coffee and wine could cause teeth yellowing.

Johnny spoke to Dr Rhonda Eskander to discuss the nation’s dental faux pas and how we can keep our mouths happy and healthy: