Although over a third (34%) of men and women say body shape is their biggest daily health and beauty anxiety, if they want to get lucky in love they should spend more time worrying about their pearly whites. Almost half (47%) of Brits cite bad or unsightly teeth as the biggest body turn off, according to new research by Orbit Completeâ„¢, sugarfree gum, compared to just 15% who said it was being either too fat or too thin.

The survey of 1,000 Brits shows that men are equally as insecure about their bodies as women, with almost a fifth (17%) of mirror-hogging males saying that they worry on a daily basis about bad teeth, lack of muscle definition (8%) and baldness (7%). While figure-conscious females obsess about their bingo wings (7%), bad skin (6%) and unsightly teeth (5%). Both sexes agree a ‘flabby’ stomach is their biggest concern (21%).

Plastic fantastic or mother nature?
Despite these anxieties and the increased access to cosmetic surgery, two thirds of people (65%) say even if money was no object they would opt for natural, preventative methods to keep looking good, such as going to the gym and regular dentist check-ups.

In fact, far from spending hundreds of pounds on cosmetic enhancement or expensive creams, Brits are using beauty ‘secret weapons’ which cost next to nothing. Nearly half (48%) wash their face with cold water and 47% drink 8 glasses of water a day to improve their skin. Over a third (34%) chew sugarfree gum (34%) to keep teeth healthy and a fifth (22%) combat spots by applying toothpaste, while 19% use dry body brushing for cellulite.

“Wanting to look good is not just about vanity, it is often linked to confidence – especially in today’s appearance driven society.” says psychologist, Dr Linda Papadopoulos.

“When a person feels confident in their appearance they are more likely to feel confident in social situations and this can have a significant effect on social skills and behaviour.”

Most common ‘portable’ secret weapons
1. Perfume, aftershave deodorant
2. Sugarfree gum, mints, breath freshener
3. Moisturiser/lip balm
4. Hair products e.g. brush, wax, serum
5. Cosmetics e.g. concealer

Not just skin deep
The research also shows that occasions when looking good matters most are big social events, such as weddings, according to nearly half (48%) of those questioned, followed by going out with friends (16%) and meeting new people (10%). With around one in 10 people (8%) admitting to being plagued by up to five health and beauty anxieties at any one time, it’s no wonder that these are the times when ‘secret weapons’ are relied upon the most. Nearly one in three people (27%) use ‘portable’ ammo in the form of perfume, aftershave and deodorant. Men are sticklers for chewing gum or mints (27%) and women regularly carry (25%) lip balm or moisturiser.

“Like most people, I have a few things about my appearance that I am not entirely happy with so when I can, I rely on little tricks to improve how I look and feel about myself – for example I always carry a bottle of water with me, wear SPF moisturizer and tinted lip gloss and always have sugarfree gum in my bag to reduce the build up of plaque after eating and drinking during the day. Teeth are often the first thing people see and armed with a healthy smile makes a real difference to my confidence,” says Louise Redknapp, spokesperson for Orbit Complete.

25% of women carry lip balm or moisturiser as a ‘secret weapon’
22% apply toothpaste as a ‘secret weapon’ to combat spots and better their appearance

Top Turn offs
58% of women view ugly teeth/poor oral hygiene as their number one physical turn-off
10% – cite fat/skinny men
6% – bad skin/spots

27% of men choose chewing gum or mints as their ‘secret weapon’
30% of men use deodorant/aftershave as a ‘secret weapon’

Top Turn offs
36% of men view ugly teeth/poor oral hygiene as their number one physical turn-off
21% – cite fat/skinny women
13% – body/facial hair

Brits’ top 5 health & beauty concerns
Flabby stomach (38%)
Stained /yellow/ unsightly teeth (26%)
Un-toned arms / lack of muscle definition (26%)
Condition of hair / split ends / grey hair (21%)
Skin problems e.g. spots, dry skin (19%)

*Study of 1004 adults aged 18+ conducted by ICM Research between 15th and 16th August