A majority of Indians relate poor dental health to improper eating habits and being born with bad teeth and not poor dental care, a new survey has revealed.

The national consumer usage and attitudes survey conducted across 233 cities by Synovate India and sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive (India) Limited has revealed that "dental problems in India are reflected in the low awareness levels and poor oral hygiene habits."

The survey showed people do not associate dental health with adequate oral care, the report released Monday stated.

"Most associate dental problems with lifestyle related reasons like improper eating habits and being born with bad teeth, a perception prominent in rural areas," the study revealed.

As many as 60 percent of those interviewed for the study had never visited a dentist, over 50 percent were fount to be unconcerned about preventing or curing dental problems, almost 30 percent do not use any oral care product while 75 percent of toothpaste users brush only once or less than once a day.

In rural India, over 50 percent do not use a toothbrush to clean teeth.

"Recent studies investigating the mouth-body connection have suggested an association between oral health and general health. There is increasing evidence that chronic gum disease may contribute to development of heart diseases," said Dr. Ashok Dhoble, secretary general of Indian Dental Association.

The Survey also said 24 percent suffered from toothache in the past one year and 96 percent were aware of the problem, but only as few as 35 percent had taken treatment from a dentist.

In addition to attitudes, the survey also tracked usage patterns and almost 30 percent were found not using any modern oral care products, the number being higher in rural areas.