A new pan-European survey conducted by GSK and Wrigley surveyed 3,500 Europeans regarding the health of their teeth. Some of the results led to stereotype-confirming data for the Irish, but helped to disprove German journalist Antje Joel’s horrendous “incest” accusations.
TheJournal.ie reports on the data delivered by GSK and Wrigley. Ireland fell above other countries’ averages when it came to infrequent tooth brushing and not regularly visiting the dentist.
While the data unfortunately shows that the Irish don’t generally maintain good dental practices, it does help to disprove wild claims by German journalist Antje Joel that the Irish have bad teeth due to “incest.”
Overall, the survey by GSK and Wrigley found that among the 3,500 European surveyed, 70 per cent were happy with their dental health.
A large majority - 84 per cent - of Irish respondents admitted to not brushing their teeth or flossing after meals. A quarter of the Irish respondents said that they eat between brushing their teeth and going to sleep “most of the time.”
Beating out the survey’s total average of 40 per cent, Ireland reported that 52 per cent did not visit the dentist regularly due to cost. The UK and Poland reported a nearby 50 per cent, and Italy and Spain at 48 per cent each.
Germany and France, however, lowered the respondent’s average when 20 per cent each saying that the cost of a dentist visit wasn’t prohibitive.
Just over 50 per cent of Irish reported seeing a dentist annually, which is much lower than the EU average of 70 per cent. 30 per cent of Irish reported seeing a dentist every two years, or never.
“Keeping your natural teeth” was understood by both Irish and EU respondents to be the most important aspect of dental health. However, at 49 per cent, less than half of Europeans surveyed reported having all their natural teeth - Ireland came just in below the average with 42 percent not having all their natural teeth.
Dr Andrew Bolas, President of the Irish Dental Association, said “Cavities and gum diseases are easily preventable by a healthy and balanced diet combined with regular dental check-ups and routine hygiene practices, including proper brushing and the use of fluoride-containing toothpaste, inter-dental cleaning, chewing sugar-free chewing gum after meals and snacking, and getting regular dental check-ups. These simple tools could improve Europeans’ oral and overall health quickly and cost-effectively.”
The report on Irish dental health comes just weeks after German journalist Antje Joel offered wild generalizations about Irish dental health, saying that it was so poor due to “incest.”
In an article entitled ‘Ireland? Forget it!’ for the Swiss magazine ‘Die Weltwoche,’ Joel wrote “One owner of one of these dental deformities once told me that it was the result of incest. To prove that, he threw back his head, opened his mouth and showed me his rodent-like, narrow upper jaw.”
“This man was a scientist, he must know. He also said that young couples have been advised by the government over the last few years to have an DNA test done before marriage, in order to prevent a further spread of this dental deformity.”
Thankfully, the GSK and Wrigley survey’s data proves that it is generally poor dental upkeep, and not incest, that creates an unfortunate stereotype for the dental health of the Irish.