The success premium of the perfect smile
More than half of Brits believe that the quality of a person's teeth has a major impact on a person's career or romantic life, yet only half of us visit the dentist regularly, according to healthcare group Bupa.
Three in five people (63 per cent) believe having bad teeth can prevent someone from finding a partner
Over half (52%) believe having nice teeth can help someone get a better job
Almost half (46%) believe having nice teeth can help a person to make more friends
However, only half of the people polled (53 per cent) attend a regular dental examination and one in seven (14 per cent) has not visited a dentist in the last four years - with four per cent having never visited at all.
Despite the trend for American-style perfectly straight, sparkling white teeth, a British smile was voted the most popular in the poll - with Kate Middleton's natural smile trouncing the competition and being voted the nation's favourite.
Not only do we think having a nice smile is important, it seems that we'd do an awful lot to get one:
One in seven (14 per cent) would give up having sex for a whole year if it meant they could get perfect teeth
One in five (22%) would forgo booze for a year if they could have a spectacular smile
Brian Franks, Clinical Director, Dentistry, Bupa Health and Wellbeing says: "Being happy with your teeth can have a big impact on your confidence and this can affect your work and relationships. So it's surprising that so many people don't go for regular dental examinations. Even people who are currently happy with their teeth should pay attention to their dental health, as problems can happen at any time and get worse if not treated. For example, gum disease is very common, affecting more than half of adults. If left untreated for a long time it can lead to tooth loss. But the good news is that in its early stage it is completely reversible. So it's vital to visit your dentist regularly so they can spot any potential problems early and help prevent them getting worse."
More than one in three people said that the expense is the main reason for not visiting the dentist regularly. Although three in ten people have landed themselves in debt or had to make sacrifices in order to cover unexpected dental bills, only one in ten people has dental insurance.
Brian Franks gives the following advice on how to look after your teeth:
Brush your teeth twice a day for around two minutes with fluoride toothpaste to help protect against decay. Pay particular attention to your gum line.
Use dental floss or inter-dental brushes to help remove plaque and small bits of food from between your teeth. It's important to use the correct technique so get advice from your dentist or hygienist.
Avoid brushing immediately after eating very sugary or acidic foods, which can temporarily soften tooth enamel and make it prone to be worn away during brushing.
Chew sugar-free gum after meals to stimulate the production of saliva which helps to neutralise plaque acid.
Try to avoid sugary foods and drinks as they encourage tooth decay. Limiting sugar between meals is particularly important.
Limit the amount of alcohol you drink, and if you smoke, stop. Drinking alcohol and smoking or chewing tobacco can increase your risk of developing mouth cancer. Smoking also stains teeth and can increase your risk of gum disease and tooth loss. Alcoholic drinks, and the mixers used with them, often contain lots of sugar, and so increase the risk of tooth decay.
Go to the dentist regularly so that he or she can spot any potential problems early and prevent them from getting worse.
Best and worst celebrity smiles:
1. Kate Middleton
2. Cheryl Cole
3. Alesha Dixon
4. Jessie J
6. Tom Cruise
7. Colin Firth
8. Richard Hammond
9. Rosie Huntington Whitley
1. Pete Doherty
2. Alan Carr
3. Mike Tyson
4. Ricky Gervais
5. Kate Moss
7. Simon Cowell
8. Nicola Roberts
9. Maria Fowler (TOWIE)
For further information about Bupa's Dental Centres, including our dedicated dental phobia specialist, visit bupa.co.uk/individuals/self-pay-treatments/dental-services
For more information about Bupa Dental Insurance and Dental Cash Plans visit bupa.co.uk/individuals/dental-cash-plans