The hidden impact of poor oral health

While almost seven out of 10 people recognise that poor oral health can have an impact on the rest of their body, people aren’t as clued up when it comes to what diseases it has potential links with, according to new research by healthcare provider, Simplyhealth.

The survey of 5,000 British adults has shown that while reassuringly, a third of people polled know that poor oral health can be linked to cardiovascular disease and mouth cancer (59%), only a small number of British adults are aware that poor oral health can be linked to dementia1 (6%), pancreatic cancer2 (5%), and rheumatoid arthritis3 (5%). Perhaps of greatest concern is that 22% of British adults would not change their current habits even if they knew that poor oral health was linked with more serious health conditions.

James Glover, spokesperson for Simplyhealth
It is encouraging to know that people are increasingly aware of the link between the health of their mouth and how it can impact on the rest of their body. As well as visiting the dentist it is important to maintain the health of your mouth on a daily basis. We’re all taught to brush our teeth twice a day, however a worrying 20% of individuals in our survey admit they don’t even do this. The figure climbs to 25% of 25 to 34 year olds, who are evidently more relaxed about their attitude towards their dental health. This could indicate that a vast number of British adults are still unaware of how best to care for their oral health
James Glover, spokesperson for Simplyhealth
As always prevention is better than cure. It is easy to wait until there is something wrong with your teeth until you do something about it. Yet, in order to ensure good mouth health, it is essential that as well as regular dental check-ups that you maintain your dental health on a daily basis by brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing and rinsing with an alcohol free mouth wash. Other, less well know factors such as leaving half an hour after eating before brushing your teeth (11% surveyed do this), or not rinsing with water after brushing (11% polled do this) also contribute towards good over all oral health
Michael Thomas, practising dentist and Simplyhealth's Dental Advisor

Simplyhealth helps nearly four million people with their healthcare needs. The Simply Cash Plan or Simply Dental Plan allows individuals to claim money back towards the cost of dental check-ups, treatment and emergencies. Simplyhealth’s plans entitle people to claim for as many treatments as they want up to an annual limit. Individuals simply pay a monthly premium and once the appointment has been attended the money can be claimed back by completing a claim form and sending off the receipt.

1 Paganini, A., White, S., & Atchison, K. 2012. Dentition, Dental Health Habits, and Dementia: The Leisure World Cohort Study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol 60, Issue 8

2 Michaud, D., Joshipura, K., Giovannucci, E., and Fuchs, C., 2007. A Prospective Study of Periodontal Disease and Pancreatic Cancer in US Male Health Professionals. National  Cancer Institure, Vol 99: p171-175

3 Mercado, F., Marshall, R., Klestov, A., & Bartold, P., 2001 Relationship Between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Periodontitis. Journal of Peridontology, Vol 72, No 6

Notes to Editor

  • A copy of Simplyhealth’s dental health factsheet as well as interviews with Michael Thomas, case studies and a spokesperson from Simplyhealth are available upon request
  • All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from OnePoll.  Total sample size was 5,000 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 25 March – 2 April 2013. The survey was carried out online.
  • All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines.

About Simplyhealth

  • We became Simplyhealth in 2009 after bringing together HSA, BCWA, LHF, HealthSure, Totally Active, our family of health companies have joined together over the last ten years to form Simplyhealth
  • In December 2011, we acquired Denplan Limited, the UK's leading dental payment plan specialist
  • We’ve been providing healthcare solutions for 140 years, dedicated to serving our customers and patients through a variety of cash plans, dental plans, private medical insurance, self funded health plans and mobility and living aids
  • Simplyhealth is a trading name of Simplyhealth Access, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority
  • Simplyhealth as it stands today, now covers nearly four million people with health plans (more than any other company) and helps 20,000 companies with their employees’ health
  • Simplyhealth is committed to making a positive impact on its communities. Each year, we donate over £1 million to health related charities and causes