Happy Saturday, SmileTimer! To celebrate World Oral Health Day today, we wanted to re-focus on that all important, (often forgotten) gateway to your general health and wellbeing: (yes that's right guys, I'm talking about your MOUTH.)
So, why should you and I talk about World Oral Health Day? Well quite simply, World Oral Health Day aims to empower people with the knowledge, tools and confidence to secure good oral health. A pretty great aim right? The reality is, oral disease can affect any one of us.
You may not even realise you have oral disease.
However, oral diseases can lead to pain and discomfort, social isolation and loss of self-confidence, and they are often linked to other serious health issues.
And yet, the crazy thing is there is actually no reason to suffer: most oral health conditions are largely preventable and can be treated in their early stages. (FYI - if you have any dental issues - don't wait - book an appointment with your dentist! National dental chains such as Smileright are open and taking on new patients.)
90% OF THE ADULT UK POPULATION WILL EXPERIENCE SOME KIND OF GUM DISEASE DURING THEIR LIFETIME. READ BELOW FOR TOP 5 TIPS ON HOW TO BECOME THE 10% TO IMPROVE YOUR ORAL HEALTH.
1. Brush Teeth For 2 Minutes Before Breakfast
So you've just woken up, you're up 10 minutes late, you just need to grab breakfast right?
Dr Milad, the Singing Dentist explains this big no no as follows: “We should be cleaning our teeth before breakfast, preferably as soon as we wake up. This is because, while we’re sleeping, plaque and bacteria builds up in our mouth (hence morning breath) and if we have breakfast before brushing, we’re essentially feeding that bacteria as well as feeding ourselves.”
So what’s the ideal brushing window?
“If possible, try to leave 20 to 30 minutes after brushing teeth to eat breakfast. This will allow fluoride to coat the teeth and neutralize the bacteria that causes tooth decay. Don’t panic if you can’t - brushing before breakfast helps in itself.”
Also, guys just to be clear - the twice a day rule is your best friend - brush (at least) twice a day for 2 minutes, and we're good. Do it with your partner, with the kids, or just do it while trying to sing and dance in front of the mirror. Make it fun!
2. Toothbrush FOMO - Go Electric
Electric v manual? The time old debate.
Myth buster: So manual toothbrushes can actually work as well as electric toothbrushes if used correctly. (FYI our personal favourites are the sustainable kind - made of bamboo - such as the SmileTime Bamboo Toothbrushes)
However - state of the art tech can have a transformative effect on both our habits and health:
“Electric toothbrushes are brilliant as to an extent they do the action for you- you just need to make sure that you hold your brush in the right places and cover the whole of your mouth. You can do a bad job with an electric toothbrush, but many brushes now have sensors to warn you if you’re scrubbing or applying too much pressure, plus timers make sure that you’re brushing your teeth for the right amount of time.”
The smart 2 minute timer is a massive plus. Some electric toothbrushes now have snazzy cleaning modes so you can vary the speed and depth of clean. The Sonic Smile by SmileTime Electric Toothbrush has a unique 5 cleaning modes - clean, white, polish, soft, sensitive - providing you with a holistic at home oral hygiene regime. It is gentle and effective in removing plaque and discolouration, ensuring a deep clean and in turn, long term, sustainable oral health.
The benefit here is that if you are experiencing bleeding or inflamed gums as a result of gum disease - a soft bristle toothbrush can be gentle and help promote cleanliness while preventing further discomfort. Medium and hard bristles may be too abrasive for your gums when they're feeling delicate.
3. Change Your Toothbrush (or Toothbrush head if electric) Every 3 Months
So the official recommendation by the NHS in the UK and the Oral Health Foundation recommend toothbrush heads should be replaced every 3 months to promote good oral health. Otherwise bristles can break and debris can build up if not cleaned properly.
You should replace the toothbrush or the brush head sooner if the bristles of the head are clearly worn, frayed or damaged in any way. Using for longer can potentially be damaging to your teeth and gums.
Now this might sound like a chore, but fear not - a hassle free option has arrived. So I think many of us will admit we have used the same toothbrush as long as we can remember. However now, if you buy an electric toothbrush such as the Sonic Smile by SmileTime Electric Toothbrush - you can subscribe for replacement heads to be delivered to your door every 3 months for just £9.99 (£8.99 if you subscribe and save 10%).
The great thing is this means zero hassle - no need for re-ordering - and if you need to cancel you can just login to your online account and give 48 hours notice.
4. Yes, It's Time To Start Flossing...
I know, it's a hassle, but it can actually really help maintain your oral health.
First, it dislodges trapped debris and food matter in difficult-to-reach areas. Second, it removes plaque (also known as biofilm) from the sides of your teeth. Removing plaque is crucial to your oral health, as it contributes to many dental problems if left unchecked.
If you're not able to clean between your teeth adequately this can contribute to:
Tartar: Removing plaque regularly is vital to your oral health as left on your teeth, plaque will harden into tartar. Once this occurs, you will not be able to clean it on your own but will require the help of your dental professional.
Gum disease: Plaque and tartar can contribute to your gums becoming sensitive, inflamed, and red: symptoms of gum disease. The sooner you start flossing, the better. Early-stage gum disease (also known as gingivitis) is reversible, but later-stage gum disease (also known as periodontitis) is not.
Cavities: Tooth decay from plaque can create holes (also known as dental caries) in your teeth's hard outer layer, known as the enamel. Left untreated, this can lead to pain, infection, and other oral health problems.
Chronic disease: Chronic oral health problems have been connected to other health problems
Brushing your teeth is essential but doesn’t remove all your plaque on its own. Cleaning between your teeth is associated with a lower frequency of gum disease, cavities, and missing teeth.
5. Eat Your Greens, Limit The Sugar
Another myth buster: oral health starts and finishes with brushing your teeth twice a day & visiting your dentist twice a year.
Nutrition is actually key in keeping your mouth healthy. Eating fresh, crunchy produce not only contains more healthy fibre but is also the best choice for your teeth. Probiotics have also been known to help decrease inflammation in the gums and help promote a healthy mouth.
Also it's important to limit the sugar. Ultimately, sugar converts into acid in the mouth, which can then erode the enamel of your teeth. These acids are what lead to cavities. Acidic fruits, teas, and coffee can also wear down tooth enamel. While you don’t necessarily have to avoid such foods altogether, it doesn’t hurt to be mindful.
Dental and oral health is an essential part of your overall health and well-being. Poor oral hygiene can lead to dental cavities and gum disease, and has also been linked to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
For World Oral Health Day, the theme for the next three years sends out a simple but powerful message: Be Proud Of Your Mouth. This year we want to inspire change by focusing on the importance of oral health for overall health, because good oral health can help you live a longer, healthier life.
We believe that's something worth taking action for.