The importance of good oral health

25 August 2020

We know that for many people, it has been a challenging time of late. The pandemic has made a huge impact on all of us and there has understandably been a break to all of our daily routines. As we adapt to the ‘new normal’, we are forced to make changes and develop new habits.

Part of these changes may include our oral hygiene regime. Whether this refers to the frequency or the duration of our cleaning, it is important to establish a new healthy routine, even if this is scheduled at different times of the day.

Below is a list of some essential oral hygiene tips that you can follow at home. We hope that you find them useful:

Essential oral hygiene tips

  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • If using a manual toothbrush, brush gently in a circular motion with the bristles directed underneath the gum
  • If using an electric toothbrush, hold the brush with the bristles directed underneath the gum and let the brush do the work. Slowly walk the brush along the gums over EVERY tooth
  • If possible, brush in the morning and just before bed. However, brushing twice daily at opposite ends of the day is still much better than brushing once or not at all
  • Brush for at least 2 minutes – try to separate your mouth into four sections and brush each section for at least 30 seconds each
  • Don’t forget to brush your tongue as plaque can build up there too – remember to be gentle and don’t brush too far back
  • Clean between your teeth every day – you can use dental floss, dental tape or interdental brushes
  • Reduce your consumption of sugary foods and drinks and try to limit snacks to just one per day
  • Reduce your intake of alcohol and tobacco

Establishing an effective daily oral hygiene regime has never been more relevant. There has long been scientific evidence confirming a link between poor oral hygiene and other serious medical conditions in the body. Poor oral health and periodontal disease (gum disease) can increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, dementia, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr. Nigel Carter OBE, states that “The link between oral health and overall bodily health is well documented and backed by robust scientific evidence.” As medical research into this area continues, we will improve our understanding of how all the bodily systems are interconnected, and how periodontal disease can impact our overall health and wellbeing.

Periodontal disease is very common and affects 90% of adults in the UK. It can cause swelling, redness of the gums, and sometimes pain. Without treatment, it can lead to gum recession and tooth loss. Even at its most mild level, it can still affect your quality of life. The health of your gums is checked at every examination so that the appropriate treatment can be recommended. Early detection could save you from losing your teeth.

In the UK, oral cancer is also on the rise, and according to Cancer Research UK, 91% of oral cancer cases could have been prevented. The disease is more common in people who smoke, drink alcohol on a regular basis, and have a diet low in fresh fruit and vegetables. If oral cancer is detected early, the chances of a full recovery are vastly improved. At St.James Dental, we check your mouth for signs of oral cancer at every examination and we offer a free oral cancer check to anyone who is concerned.

Your regular dental examination could help you to avoid other health issues in the future, so please don’t put off making an appointment with us! If you have any concerns regarding your oral health, please speak to our patient coordinator.

We are open for business as usual and providing a safe environment for our staff and all of our patients. If you are considered more vulnerable, please let us know so we can arrange your appointments at a quieter time during the day.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the practice.

The St. James Dental team

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