From the 14th May to the 14th June, dental professionals, health organisations and people across the UK will be celebrating National Smile Month. For more than 40 years, National Smile Month has been promoting the importance of good oral health. Whilst dentistry and healthcare has certainly improved in the last four decades, it’s still important for us to keep on delivering these three key messages:
- Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
- Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.
For most people, it doesn’t take too much work to maintain a good level of oral health, however, there are still a lot of people that cut corners when it comes to looking after their teeth and gums and a surprising percentage of people don’t visit the dentist as often as they should.
In the spirit of National Smile Month, let’s talk through some simple changes that we can make to improve our oral health:
Brushing your teeth
As well as brushing your teeth last thing at night and at least one other occasion in the day, it’s also important to clean in between your teeth at least once a day. To do this, you can use dental floss or an interdental brush, a small brush that fits between the teeth, removing any trapped food or plaque.
Whilst it’s important to brush your teeth after meals, whilst you may feel urged to brush straight away, you should wait about an hour before you do so. Right after meals, particularly if you have consumed sugary, acidic foods, the enamel of your teeth is softened, so brushing could brush away enamel. We would also recommend that you should also wait to use mouthwash after brushing your teeth, as mouthwash may rinse away the fluoride from your toothpaste.
As well as trying to cut down how many sugary foods and drinks you consume, to reduce the time your teeth come under attack, we would advise against snacking and recommend that any sugary foods or drinks should be consumed at meal times. If you do have a particularly sweet tooth, you could try sugar-free sweets or drinks containing xylitol – this can be good for your teeth as it helps to keep a neutral pH level in your mouth and stops bacteria from sticking to the teeth. Another way of reducing the effect of acidic foods and drinks on your teeth is to finish a meal with a small piece of cheese. This has a neutralising effect on acids.
To keep your teeth as healthy as possible and avoid gum disease, it’s important to eat a varied and balanced diet, ensuring that you eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals, along with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit.
Our top tip is to chew sugar-free gum after eating or drinking as this helps to protect your teeth and gums in between meals.
If your teeth are crooked or misaligned, as well as this can sometimes make it much more difficult to clean between your teeth. At Dulwich Orthodontics, our specialists can provide a number of different teeth-straightening treatments to help you achieve a straighter smile and find it easier to take care of your oral health.
To learn more about orthodontic treatment, including discreet braces, please call us today on 020 8265 9797 to arrange a consultation.