A new survey to mark National Smile Month (May 18th to June 17th) has revealed some alarming dental habits, including using earrings to pick teeth and flossing while driving.
The survey, which was carried out by the British Dental Health Foundation, found that 13 per cent of people have flossed while driving, and many had used items such as screwdrivers, scissors and lollipop sticks to remove food from between their teeth.
As well as being ineffective, such techniques are likely to increase the risk of infection and raise the likelihood of people needing dental treatment.
In addition, 29 per cent of respondents suffered from bleeding gums, yet nearly half of these admitted that they ignore it or simply brush their teeth more softly to avoid aggravating the problem.
Dr Nigel Carter, the charity's chief executive, commented: "It is National Smile Month but these results do not give people in the UK a great deal to smile about.
"People are putting themselves at risk with these shocking habits, yet around 85 per cent of people are completely unaware of the link between the health of the mouth and the health of the body."