Every year on the 20th March we celebrate World Oral Health Day - an international day to celebrate the benefits of a healthy mouth and the importance of good oral hygiene for all ages.
With more stories emerging everyday about the links between oral health and systemic health here are a few tips to help protect yourself from dental decay, gum disease and tooth wear.
1. If you haven’t seen the dentist or hygienist in the last year, book an appointment today. Regular visits mean you will be screened for any dental problems, including oral cancer. If you have children, they should visit the dentist by their first birthday.
2. To prevent enamel erosion and tooth decay, reduce the frequency of sugar and acid in your diet. Try to keep these to meal times only and have no more than 3 to 4 attacks per day.
3. Use a fluoride toothpaste or products with a formula designed to help protect and repair the damage of erosion. The Regenerate range is designed to promote remineralisation of eroded enamel. The products contain calcium silicate and sodium phosphate which combine to form a crystal structure that is identical to hydroxyapatite, the key mineral in enamel.
4. Avoid brushing immediately after having something acidic, as the enamel will be weakened. Wait about an hour after or brush before. Rinsing with water after can help. Spit but don’t rinse after brushing.
5. Use a straw (try and avoid plastic) to help reduce how much the teeth are bathed in acid. Don’t hold drink in the mouth, sip for too long and often, or swirl around the mouth.
6. Sugar-free gum and mints increase salivary flow, which can neutralise acids, helps remove food debris, help strengthen teeth and increase salivary flow. Opt for products with Xylitol as an ingredient, which is clinically proven to help fight dental decay. I like Peppersmith.
7. Use a soft bristled toothbrush and brush gently if using a manual toothbrush. Ideally use an electric toothbrush and allow the brush head to glide along the teeth and gum line without scrubbing. Most now come fitted with a pressure sensor in the form of a flashing light or noise when too much pressure is applied.
8. Avoid so called whitening toothpastes. They often contain abrasive particles designed to try and remove staining from teeth. This, combined with an overzealous brushing technique, can wreak havoc on enamel. There is a scale called the RDA scale which grades the abrasiveness of toothpaste. The lower the number the less abrasive the paste.
Understand that only teeth whitening provided by a dental professional is legal and effective. Online and in-shop products do not contain any active ingredients and could be harmful. Learn more about the various professional whitening options available.