Life is busy. Sometimes, booking your regular dental check up or taking the time to floss every day is not at the top of your list. However, your lifestyle is linked to your oral health and can contribute to a range of more serious health conditions if you don’t keep on top of it. This dental health week, we look at oral hygiene and how you can improve your habits in a few simple steps.
Factors that contribute to poor oral health
There are lifestyle factors that we know contribute to poor oral hygiene. In fact, adults who visited the dentist for a problem were nearly twice as likely as to have at least one tooth with untreated dental decay than those who visited for a regular check-up.
Along with a lack of regular check ups at the dentist, dietary considerations account for accelerated tooth decay and conditions. You probably already know sugar isn’t great for your teeth, however other common foods, like coffee, tea and alcohol also cause your mouth to create acid that attacks the tooth enamel.
As a busy professional, it’s likely you’ve rushed out of the door in the morning and skipped the morning brush. If you do this regularly or struggle to fit in flossing, this will contribute to your level of oral hygiene over time.
What is the impact of poor oral health?
Luckily, most of the impacts of poor oral health aren’t severe and can be treated effectively by your dentist. Tooth decay and gum disease are the most common effects of failing to keep your oral hygiene in check, however, other conditions have been associated with poor oral health.
Tissue damage and tooth loss are more serious effects, with the deterioration of the mouth and loss of teeth affecting speech, ability to eat, and of course, confidence and self esteem.
Chronic conditions like oral cancers, lung disease, diabetes and heart complaints also have a correlation to poor oral hygiene due to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
How to improve your oral health;
There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the most out of your oral health routine:
Start with the basics
- Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Replace your toothbrush regularly, at least every 2-3 months.
- Don’t rinse right away; fluoride has a topical benefit to tooth enamel
- Chew (sugar free) gum in between meals to stimulate saliva production
Make it easy
- If you’re having trouble brushing for two minutes twice a day, an electric toothbrush might be a good option. They are effective, and do much of the work for you; all you have to do is keep an eye on the time.
- If you’re struggling to get your regular flossing in, try a water flosser, flossette or brush instead of traditional string floss.
Watch your intake
- If you’re a big coffee drinker, make sure you follow up your coffee with a glass of water and even some gum to reduce the amount of acid on your tooth enamel
- Opt for sugar free switches wherever you can – soft drinks, gum and even lollies have great low or no sugar alternatives.
Regular check ups
You knew this was coming! It’s important to visit your dentist for regular check ups. A study found that only about half of all Australians are getting their regular oral health check ups so booking in twice a year could have a huge impact on your oral hygiene.