Bad habits that really make us spit

editorial image

People in the South East of England think spitting is the worst bad habit you have could have, according to a recent survey.

Conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation for National Smile Month, one in three (32 per cent) respondents placed spitting at the top of the list while almost three in four (73 per cent) positioned it in the worst three. Using somebody else’s toothbrush and not telling them was denounced by a quarter (25 per cent) of respondents, while nose picking was branded as the most disgusting habit by close to one in five (18 per cent) people.

Flatulence (11 per cent), bad language and belching (six per cent) and biting nails (2 per cent) completed the list.

In addition to using somebody else’s toothbrush and not telling them being the second biggest pet peeve with respondents, more than half (51 per cent) found it nasty enough to rank it amongst their top three.

Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, though not surprised by the results, was keen to raise awareness about the potential health dangers of using somebody else’s toothbrush.

Dr Carter said: “Borrowing somebody else’s toothbrush can leave you susceptible to all sorts of oral and general health problems. There are hundreds of different bacteria and viruses in the mouth and somebody sharing a toothbrush could be passing these on to others.

“While this might be something relatively harmless, things such as a common cold or cold sore, if either person is infected with, for instance, hepatitis B, these germs can be passed on via the toothbrush with life threatening consequences.

“People should practice good toothbrush hygiene by changing it once every three months, and not letting anyone else borrow it.”

Now in its 36th year National Smile Month, which runs until June 20, is the UK’s largest oral health campaign. The campaign encourages everyone to follow three basic rules for great oral health throughout life:

• Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste;

• Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks;

• Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

National Smile Month is also promoting a water saving message in 2012. By visiting www.smilemonth.org everyone can find out more about the campaign, including details on this year’s official symbol – the ‘Smiley’.