It’s important that you visit your dentist regularly because good oral hygiene is important for your overall health – if you don’t look after your teeth and gums, it can lead to other health problems including facial pain and even problems with your heart. A healthy smile can truly transform your visual appearance as well as improving the health of not only your mouth, but your body too!
Here are a few steps that can help you on your way to a healthy smile.
The things we eat have an impact on our oral health – such as tooth decay and staining – so a healthy diet is important for your teeth, but balance is the key to getting it right. It’s pretty easy to follow a healthy diet; you just need to ensure you’re eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions.
The NHS eatwell plate gives tips on how to follow a healthy diet, which should include plenty of fruit and vegetables, starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes and pasta (especially wholegrains), as well as protein which can be found in meat, fish, eggs and beans.
Food and drinks that are high in sugar, alcohol, tea, coffee and cigarette smoke are all culprits that can stain your teeth, so it’s best to keep these to a minimum. Alcohol consumption can also lead to a loss of enamel over time because it can erode the outer surface of the teeth.2
The NHS advises brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice per day for two minutes each time, ensuring you remember to brush before bed time.3 Fluoride toothpaste is important as it can help strengthen the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay, and it also reduces the amount of acid that bacteria on teeth produce.4 After brushing your teeth, don’t rinse your mouth with water straight away otherwise you will be washing away the concentrated fluoride in the remaining toothpaste, therefore diluting it and reducing its strengthening abilities. You should also floss regularly to help reduce gum disease and bad breath by removing plaque that forms along the gum line.
It’s important to visit your dentist regularly, typically every three months to two years depending on your oral health, for a routine examination and cleaning.5 Checking your teeth for tooth decay is just one part of a thorough dental examination. During your check-up appointment, your dentist should look at your teeth, gums and mouth, and many dentists will pay special attention to plaque and tartar because this can build up in a very short time if good oral hygiene is not practiced between visits. By seeing your dentist on a regular basis and following a good daily cleaning ritual at home, you are more likely to keep your teeth and gums healthy and looking good!
Did you know that oral health can have an impact on your heart health too? Gum disease and coronary heart disease share common risk factors, characterised by inflammation and the build up of different types of plaque. To read more about how looking after your teeth can have a positive impact on your heart, click here.
It’s important to have regular dental check-ups to maintain oral health, however with these ever increasing costs it can get expensive, but help is at hand to support you. A cash plan from Sovereign Health Care allows you to claim money back towards dental check-ups and hygienist fees, treatment and x-rays as well as a wide range of other everyday health care costs. To find out more, click here.
1 Gov.uk https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/nhs-dental-charges-from-april-2016
2 Brilliant Dental Care http://www.brilliantdentalcare.co.uk/blog/alcohol/
3 NHS http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/dentalhealth/Pages/Dentalhealthintroduction.aspx
4 British Dental Health Foundation https://www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/sundry/fluoride
5 NHS http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/dentalhealth/Pages/Dentalcheckups.aspx