Pandemic leading to healthier smile habits finds new research


  Posted by: Dental Design      10th June 2021

Research published by the Oral Health Foundation has found that a number of Brits took the opportunity during the pandemic to build better oral health habits. At a time when NHS dentistry is struggling to deal with the backlog of patients caused by the pandemic this is very welcome news and the Oral Health Foundation is calling on the nation to continue taking steps towards better oral health.

The survey of over 2,000 Brits found that one-in-five (20%) said that during the pandemic they had developed the habit of brushing their teeth for longer1.

This is especially good news as, on average, research shows that adults brushing their teeth for what they believe is two minutes, is as low as 54 seconds.

It is not just better brushing habits that seem to have been picked up either.  One-in-five Brits (18%) are cleaning in between their teeth with floss or interdental brushes while one-in-seven (14%) have committed to using daily mouthwash more often.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, hopes that Brits can take the charity’s National Smile Month campaign as an opportunity to build on these good habits.

Dr Carter says: “It’s great to hear that a number of us have taken the opportunity to improve our oral health during the pandemic by building better oral health habits. Brushing for two minutes, twice a day, with a fluoride toothpaste is key for good oral health as well as cleaning daily between our teeth with interdental brushes or floss. Doing so ensures your teeth stay clean throughout the day and also helps keep gum disease and tooth decay at bay.

“At a time when dental practices are working hard to reduce the backlog caused by the pandemic, good oral health at home has never been so important. By keeping on top of our oral health we can really give our body a boost and reduce our chances of developing wider health issues such as diabetes, dementia, and heart disease.”

National Smile Month, which runs until 17 June, is all about the importance of good oral health and is supported by a host of major UK brands such as Invisalign, LISTERINE®, Oral-B, Corsodyl, Sensodyne, TePe, Philips and the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programme.

In addition to brushing habits, findings from the charity’s research shows over a third (38%) of Brits are now walking more often during the pandemic while the same number are also cooking more meals from scratch.  These new insights reveal that women are more likely to use lockdown as a chance to take up healthier habits, compared to men2.

Clearly, the pandemic has got a lot of people thinking about their health and the importance of looking after our bodies. Oral health can sometimes be forgotten or taken for granted however Dr Carter hopes that this can change.

“Oral health is so important, but it can be easy to let it slip,” adds Dr Carter.

“Whether it’s forgetting to brush our teeth twice a day or not checking in with the dentist, these bad habits can easily stack up and cause a number of oral health issues. National Smile Month offers an opportunity to put the mouth back into the body and get the whole family enthused about better oral health through fun and engaging activities and events.

“Please take National Smile Month as an opportunity to assess your oral health and take steps towards a healthier and happier smile.”

For more information about our National Smile Month campaign and how you can achieve better oral health head to Alternatively, if you would like to receive oral health information and advice over the phone then call our Dental Helpline on 01788 539780.


    1. Oral Health Foundation, ‘National Smile Month Survey 2021‘, UK, Broadcast Revolution, April 2021, Sample 2,009.
    2.  In the survey 41% of women said they were going for walks more often during the pandemic compared to 35% of men. Similarly, 41% of women said they were cooking more meals from scratch compared to 34% of men.

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