The first Eurobarometer survey measuring European's sentiment on their oral health perceptions in 2009 commissioned by the European Commission was released February 25.

Eurobarometer results include:           

The vast majority of Europeans say that they do not have any difficulties caused by their teeth. Nor do they feel embarrassed by them. However:

Only 41% of Europeans say that they have all their natural teeth.

Approximately 15% have experienced difficulties, over the last twelve months, in chewing, biting or eating food because of mouth or teeth problems.

16% have experienced toothache, painful gums or sore spots

7% have felt embarrassed about the appearance of their teeth or dentures.

57% of those surveyed last consulted a dentist (for their teeth, dentures or gums) less than one year ago. Only 2% have never consulted a dentist.

88% of Europeans think that, if necessary, it would be possible to see a dentist within 30 minutes of their home or workplace.

Half of respondents say the last time that they visited a dentist it was for a check-up, examination or cleaning. A third saw a dentist for routine treatment and almost one in five went for emergency treatment.

The three top reasons given for not having consulted a dentist during the last two years are: dental problem not serious enough (33%), no teeth or false teeth (16%) and the high cost of check-ups and treatment (15%). Only 10% of respondents said that their main reason was fear or dislike of dentists or dental hygienists.

These statistics should be enough of a reason to get a check-up and follow a healthy oral health hygiene routine. 

Various international dental associations tout the importance of brushing for two minutes a day and there are even iPhones applications to help out: Toothbrush Timer (free) and ToothBrush Timer for kids ($.99).

Also remember April is International Oral Health Month.

Full Eurobarometer report: