Dental Care: Are we taking our teeth for granted?
From our very first tooth, we are taught the importance of brushing and a healthy diet. Why is dental care important?
Aside from losing teeth, which carries with it its own stigma, there are many other reasons that your dental care shouldn't be overlooked. And more are being discovered all the time!
Take a look at the below statistics:
At first glance, these statistics may look like they were gathered from a Charles Dickens version of Victorian England. The sobering truth is that these are statistics collated and updated between 2019 and 2021 in the UK.
Despite how bleak this may look on the surface, the reality is that oral care in most developed countries has never been better.
From a young age, we are encouraged to follow a good dental care routine. Yet, the statistics above suggest that something is clearly amiss with oral care for the nation. Perhaps we need reminding of some of the basics?
Teeth will always be in style! ~Dr Suess
Part of the problem is that we tend to take our teeth for granted. It’s not until problems arise, like toothache, bleeding gums or loose teeth that we consider our oral health. As adults, we are less likely to observe the basics of good oral care. This can include skipping brushes, avoiding the dentist or ignoring our diet and lifestyle decisions. A quick straw poll amongst friends revealed that a lot of adults put skipping brushes down to tiredness, being too busy or just forgetting. Modern life does certainly take its toll on self-care, and oral care is one of those things that might be the first to go with a hectic schedule and/or a busy lifestyle. Let's have a look and remind ourselves of some of the basics and why they are important.
Don't forget your toothbrush!
Brushing twice a day, or at least twice a day is a recommendation by most dentists, and by the NHS. Brushing should last for about two minutes, including all teeth, gums and the tongue. With life becoming ever busier, it’s easy to see how skipping brushes might become the norm for some adults. In fairness, the occasionally missed brush shouldn't be an issue. When this is a regular occurrence, though, this is when plaque and bacteria start to build up and cause problems. Plaque, as well as being largely responsible for cavities and bad breath can harden and form tartar, a visible yellowish crust on the teeth.
Brushing and flossing can get rid of tartar, in more severe cases, a dental practitioner will need to scrape it away. It can look unpleasant and is causing damage to your teeth and gums. changing your brush or brush head regularly - at least every three months - is also overlooked by a lot of adults. With bamboo brushes now reducing our landfill, it's never been easier to do!
Brushing is so often seen as a dull routine and this is perhaps why it's often skipped. As children, it often signaled a time for bed or time for school or just something that was enforced. It's time to embrace that 2 minutes as a time for you to consider your self-care.
Your dental health and your diet
Our lifestyle choices play a huge part in our oral health. Vast damage can be done to our mouths by regularly eating and drinking sugary or starchy substances. Diet plays a key role in dental health and shouldn’t be overlooked. Again, it’s fine to indulge once in a while.
Dentists and doctors alike will often recommend a lot of fruit and vegetables for a healthy and balanced diet. It’s important to consider that some fruits especially might have a high level of citric acid, which is bad for tooth enamel. With good brushing practice, this should not be an issue.
Tobacco and excessive alcohol as well as a fatty or sugary diet will all take their toll on your teeth and gums. Dentists are scarily adept at looking into your mouth and being able to accurately describe your lifestyle choices. This isn't a psychic ability, but years of experience with whole mouth care.
Your dental health, your mental health, and your physical health
Ongoing conditions, such as anxiety, bulimia nervosa, depression, can cause damage to teeth, such as excessive grinding or erosion of the enamel. Physical issues that restrict movement mean that it can be difficult to brush properly without assistance and various allergies and conditions which restrict diet can also have a detrimental effect on the teeth and gums. It is important to always seek medical advice in the first instance. However, your dentist can be very helpful in suggesting ways that you can limit the impact that mental or physical health has on your teeth and gums.
The NHS recommend that you visit a dentist bi-annually or annually at the very least. If a health issue may be affecting your oral hygiene or health, then it’s important to seek advice regularly.
Brush up on your oral health routine
Now that you've been reminded of the grassroots of oral health, we can do the rest. Whilst it is incredibly important to us to create a product that is Zero waste and plastic-free, our ingredients need to benefit the whole mouth, not just the teeth. We've done all the hard work, now all you have to do is take time to indulge yourself for at least 4 minutes every day!
Health Survey for England 2019 Dental health (Updated Feb 2021), Copyright © 2021 NHS Digital, part of the Government Statistical Service
Jill Seladi-Schulman, PhD, Is It Possible to Die from a Tooth Infection?, (2021) Healthline, Medically reviewed by Jennifer Archibald, DDS
Paula snchez et al :Oral health and cardiovascular care: Perceptions of people with cardiovascular disease, (2017) PLoS One
Mahmudul Hasan S. M. et al: Relationship between diabetes self-care practices and control of periodontal disease among type2 diabetes patients in Bangladesh,(2021) PLoS One
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