Life can get busy, and when it does, it can be hard to keep on top of things like brushing your teeth properly. This is a particular problem for children during school holidays, when family routines tend to be relaxed and many young people stay up a little later than normal.
Brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes, using a fluoride toothpaste, is one of the easiest ways to look after your smile and help you to stay confident. Make sure that you tackle all the surfaces of your teeth by using an effective brushing technique and choose a quality toothbrush (make sure you replace it at the recommended frequency too). It is also recommended to floss or use interdental brushes to reach those areas that a normal toothbrush cannot access.
If you’re not sure if your brushing is as good as it could be, don’t be afraid to book a consultation with a dental hygienist who will be happy to help.
Did you know that surveys have found people aged 34 and under are more likely to visit a dentist for teeth whitening or other cosmetic treatments than for a routine check-up? Added to that is the impact that the COVID 19 pandemic has had on dental visits. Regular dental examinations are, for your teeth, what solid foundations are for a house or a service is for your car. Missing your routine checkup can cause damage or gum disease to go unnoticed, allowing it to develop into a much more serious and even painful problem that can require dental treatment and really undermine your confidence and self-esteem.
A routine check-up is not just about your teeth either – it can also help to detect early signs of mouth cancer, giving you the best possible chance of survival. Make sure you book – and attend – regular appointments as recommended by your dentist.
Whether it is fuel to see you through the day in the office, half-term snacks or ‘midnight feasts’ for little explorers, being smart when it comes to snacks can play a big part in keeping your teeth in the best possible condition. If you are watching the waistline and opting for low-calorie snacks, be aware that these sometimes contain high levels of sugar. Some breakfast and cereal bars, for example, contain as much as 30% sugar.
Another risk to bear in mind with cereal or biscuit bars is that they tend to leave a lot of residue on and around the teeth. This can increase the risk of acid attacking your teeth. Starchy foods such as crisps or bread, despite being savoury, can also pose a higher risk than you may have thought for the same reason, as their residue creates a perfect harbour for bacteria. Brushing your teeth or using mouthwash after snacks can help to lower the risk of damage to your teeth, as well as help to avoid the risk of bad breath.
If you are looking for a healthy alternative that will benefit your teeth and gums – as well as your waistline – try swapping to raw vegetables such as celery and carrots. These actually function as a natural toothbrush, helping to clean the surface of your teeth with a delicate abrasive effect. Another great snack to try is cheese, which is not only nutritious but also helps to reduce acidity.
Drinking plenty of water is recommended as part of a healthy lifestyle – and it is also a great drink as far as your teeth are concerned, especially when drinking between meals. If you or your children really don’t enjoy drinking pure water, try to opt for low sugar or ideally sugar-free drinks rather than high sugar, carbonated drinks such as cola and energy drinks.
If you are very active in sports or fitness, be conscious of what sports drinks you use too – many sports and energy drinks contain extremely high levels of sugar. If consumed regularly, these drinks can substantially increase your risk of tooth decay.
Website last updated: July 2022
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