​A new study by GSK Consumer Healthcare in partnership with Ipsos has revealed the need to improve public awareness that good oral care can benefit people’s overall health. 85 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement “I believe good oral healthcare can benefit my overall health, beyond just my mouth” dropping to 80 per cent in the UK specifically, but the research showcased that the specific benefits were not well known.

Only 29 per cent of consumers in the UK are unaware that good oral health can support a healthier pregnancy, with lower risk of complications. This link proved to have the lowest awareness globally within the bespoke research. Pregnant women with poor gum health are more likely to give birth prematurely, suffer pre-eclampsia, or have a baby with low birth weight – meaning good oral health habits are critical.

When assessing the awareness of links between oral healthcare and diabetes, it was found that only 40 per cent of consumers in the UK were aware of the link and the impact this has on controlling blood sugar levels or managing diabetes, versus 51 per cent of consumers globally.

In addition, less than half (45 per cent) of British consumers are aware that good oral care can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease – those with gum disease are at higher risk of heart disease as the bacteria can spread from the gums throughout the bloodstream causing inflammation when it reaches the heart.

Jonathan Workman (pictured), area general manager for Great Britain and Ireland at GSK Consumer Healthcare, commented, “As one of the world’s largest providers of specialist oral health, it is our responsibility to support healthcare professionals across dentistry and pharmacy professions to educate consumers on the wider benefits of oral healthcare, outside of the mouth. By drawing a stronger light on the wider benefits of good oral healthcare and regular visits to the dentist – as part of a holistic self-care routine – our ambition is to further relieve pressure on our health services.”

In response to the new statistics, GSK Consumer Healthcare is continuing its support for healthcare professionals and advising dental practitioners and pharmacy teams to visit the GSK Health Partner website for more information and advice: www.gskhealthpartner.com