Dental practices in England are set to reopen from Monday [8 June] but it won’t quite be business as usual, with limited treatments on offer and a reduction in the number of patients that can be seen. While dental practices tackle the challenges to bring full dental services back to the public, the Oral Health Foundation is offering advice on how to maintain a healthy smile at home.
It’s all part of National Smile Month, a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of having good oral health.
By adopting a few simple habits, the charity says everybody can achieve a healthier mouth. Not only will this reduce your chances of oral diseases like tooth decay and gum disease. But it can also have a positive impact on your wider health, reducing your risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes and dementia.
According to the Oral Health Foundation, a healthy smile is only three steps away.
The daily oral hygiene routine
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, says: “Keeping your mouth healthy at home is relatively easy and only takes around five minutes a day.
“A good daily oral health routine includes twice-daily tooth brushing, interdental cleaning and mouthwash.”
Eva Castro Perea, Professional & Academic Manager at Oral-B, adds: “Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, with fluoride toothpaste is the best thing you can do to keep your teeth and mouth healthy.
“This is because brushing removes plaque. If plaque isn’t removed, it continues to build up and could lead to a number of oral diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease. Over time, this can lead to tooth loss.
“Brushing should be done last thing at night and at one other time during the day, ideally in the morning.”
The Oral Health Foundation advises using mouthwash once a day before brushing your teeth while interdental cleaning should be daily too.
The charity says chewing sugar-free gum in between meals can also help prevent tooth decay by neutralising plaque acids in the mouth.
A healthy balanced diet
“What you eat and drink can have a big impact on the health of your mouth,” adds Dr Carter.
“The two things to look out for in your food and drink are sugar and acid. These have the potential to cause damage to your teeth.
“Sugar reacts with the bacteria in plaque (the sticky coating on your teeth) and produces harmful acids. This is the cause of tooth decay.
“Acidic foods and drinks can be just as harmful. Over time, the acid can ‘erode’ or dissolve the enamel, exposing the dentine underneath. This can make your teeth sensitive and unsightly. Once the enamel has worn away, is gone for good therefore it is important to protect it.”
Andrei Gutierrez, Expert Marketing Manager at GSK, the manufacturing company of Sensodyne Pronamel, says: “It is better for your teeth and general oral health if you have your acidic fruit and drinks as part your main meals. This reduces…