As it’s Smile Month I’ve asked my lovely neighbour, and National President of the British Association of Dental Therapists, Amanda, to share her top tips for keeping our teeth and mouth healthy. She’s a great advocate for dental health and is always keen to raise awareness of Oral health especially in the great month of Smile Month 2017. It’s an initiative which has been going for 25 years!
Amanda is a dental therapist, part of a small group in dentistry who have the qualifications of a hygienist but also train to provide fillings in children's and adults teeth and are the prevention experts in many studies
Oral or mouth care is an elemental part of our overall health and importantly,”our first wealth is our health”, a phrase borrowed from George Washington the famous American President.
So here are some of her dental pearls of wisdom for you and your families.
Happy smiles are therapeutic. Adults smile more, in fact 13% more in the presence of a smiling child, than in the presence of other adults or when alone ( Popov University of Cambridge 2015.) So make sure you break into a smile throughout Smile Month.
Adolescents (12-16 year olds) primarily see brushing as a cosmetic benefit and this is a great way to market brushing to them at home. Brushing well is key to oral health and technology can help. There are some good apps out there such as ‘brushing with Rosie’ and brushes with feedback devices that are available if you are struggling with motivating the younger generation to brush for 2 minutes twice a day. Some of the best motivators I recommend in my armoury are disclosing tablets. These little miracle pellets dye the plaque in the mouth pink and show you where you are missing. Its good fun to get the whole family involved and get a competition going at home along the lines of ‘Cleanest mouth of the week.’ You can’t escape a pink mouth and increasing awareness of where plaque sticks is the winning ticket here. Arbonne’s toothpaste is a great, mild tasting, mint toothpaste flavoured with mint and spearmint. The formula contains antioxidants from white tea and ginger, grape, pomegranate and cranberry extracts. It’s fluoride free and formulated without artificial colours and sweetened with the naturally derived ingredient xylitol.
Its key to understand that mouths are forgiving and have the fastest cell turnover in the body. Therefore oral injuries such as ulcers and burns heal very very quickly. Salt water mouth rinses always help these conditions to heal and should be the first port of call if you burn your mouth on a hot potato or other hot food or drink. Oral injuries should disappear after 10-18 days. If the problem lingers please go and see your dental professional.
If you want your teeth cleaning by a hygienist or therapist you can access them directly without having to see or register with a dentist first. This canbe really useful if you’re away staying with friends or family for a while. This is called direct access and was developed and made law in 2014. Physio-therapists have the same legislation.
Teeth are made of bone and react badly to continual acid attack, this can manifest as sensitivity and brittle, chipping teeth. This is caused primarily from acidic beverages from lemon juice in drinks to fizzy water, wine and energy/vitamin drinks. Keep these drinks to one a day, preferably at mealtimes and do use a straw. The only acid neutral drinks are milk and water during the day and water at night time.
Do you take prescription medicines? If so these can make your mouth dry and uncomfortable. Do go and see your dental professional to get this checked and graded and then advice and special products to help can be recommended.
There’s a new mouth freshener foam for those who need to freshen up after a coffee or those who travel a lot, its a Norwegian product called Splat (splat.com). I tried this recently and though it was a great innovation.
So keep smiling and remember, brush well and see your dental team regularly for check ups and cleaning as these elements are key to keeping your teeth for life.
Amanda works at Oasis Stamford, Lincolnshire