Consumers appear to be more concerned by the appearance of their teeth than their actual dental health, new research suggests.
A study by Mintel found that over two fifths of Britons (41 per cent) worry about the colour of their teeth, while just 27 per cent are concerned about cavities and 25 per cent about receding gums.
The trend is backed by figures showing that sales of whitening toothpastes have increased by 15 per cent, from £55 million in 2006 to £63 million in 2008.
Alexandra Richmond, senior health & beauty analyst at Mintel, said that many people regard their smile as something that can be fixed by cosmetic dentistry rather than oral hygiene.
"The fact that more people are concerned about the colour of their teeth than real health issues such as cavities and gum rescission is a worry," she claimed.
"There is a real danger that this could result in people neglecting genuine health issues such as tongue and gum health."
A recent report in the Herald revealed that a growing number of people have been having cosmetic dentistry over the past ten years in a bid to improve the appearance of their smile.