To celebrate World Oral Health Day 2021 (20 March 2021), Abigail Goodyear shares with us her top tips for being #proudofyourmouth. Abigail is a first year student on our FdSc Oral Health Science, studying at the Colchester campus, and volunteer for the dental charity Dental Mavericks.

Keep them sparkly clean!

Keeping your teeth nice and clean means brushing twice a day, last thing at night and at least one other time during the day. Be sure to use a toothpaste that contains at least 1350 ppm fluoride for all ages over 7; spitting out the bubbles after toothbrushing but not rinsing allows the fluoride to work for longer, reducing the risk of dental caries. Using the right technique is really important so ask your Dentist or Hygienist to show you at your next appointment, this will ensure you are getting to all the difficult to reach areas. Lastly, remember to replace your manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three months. All will help to make sure you are getting the best clean possible.

Additionally, cleaning between the teeth at least once a day will reduce your risk of dental caries and periodontal disease, as toothbrushing alone is not enough to keep them sparkly clean. Ask your Dentist or Hygienist for advice on interdental cleaning and sizing for brushes to ensure you are efficiently cleaning the areas between your teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach.

Eat and drink well!

Being sugar smart means reducing the frequency of sugars in the foods and drinks you consume every day. Every time you eat and drink, an acid attack happens that allows the bacteria in the mouth to start breaking down tooth structures. Your mouth is very efficient in combatting this process, however, can become overwhelmed if you are frequently consuming lots of sugary foods and drinks.

The best advice is to limit acid attacks to a maximum of four times during the day, so think; Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and two snacks. The next thing to do is look at what you are eating, do the foods you consume have hidden sugars? Foods such as cereals and condiments can have hidden sugars in them. Looking for alternative sugar free, diet or no added sugar options means you do not have to miss out, although we will always recommend water and milk to be the best drink options! When you do have sugary foods and drinks, its best to have them around mealtimes, avoid sugar around bedtime and drink acidic drinks (i.e. fruit juice) through a straw.

Visit your Dentist and Hygienist as recommended!

The Dentist and Hygienist are your friends. Ensuring you keep up with regular appointments means your oral health can be monitored throughout the year, including oral cancer screening, which is routinely carried out by dental professionals. Any dental issues can be identified early on before they develop into anything more serious and dealt with accordingly.