If you mention that you work at the dentist or that you give advice on how to look after teeth, most people will become very self-conscious about how their teeth look. Smiles stop and hands come up to cover up the mouth.
In a recent survey by the British Dental Health Foundation, 61 per cent of people admitted to being attracted to someone by their smile alone. So now might be the time to brush up that smile!
National Smile Month, which runs from May 19 to June 19, gives our team at the Special Care Dental Service an opportunity to remind everyone of how important it is to take good care of our mouths. This year, we’ll be hitting the streets once again for a series of informative events across the county. The annual campaign promotes key messages for maintaining good oral health; brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks and visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.
While I am out and about, I regularly hear about people’s dislike of going to the dentist. This is often because of the cost of dental treatment or, more frequently, the ‘fear factor’ originating from past experiences. As a result, self-care of teeth becomes all the more important, meaning a visit to the dentist becomes a much easier experience. Simple things like swapping juices and fizzy drinks in between meals to plain still water or milk can really help to reduce those cavities that can lead to a filling at the dentist.
Prevention is better than a cure, but those simple key messages certainly do make a difference.
One of the hardest changes to manage is to cut down on how often we have sugary foods and drinks. Like everyone, I know myself that chocolate bars and sugary treats are everywhere and can be really hard to resist. How often do we go to the supermarket with good intentions only to have it undone at the checkout? Even getting fuel for your car can be tempting. ‘Pay at Pump’ is great as you don’t have to go into the kiosk where all those sweets are in abundance as you wait to pay.
For most people it is the calories in those foods that they are concerned about perhaps not realising that those sugary snacks can also cause a lot of damage to your teeth.
Generally, we are not great at regularly replacing our toothbrushes, which should be every three months or earlier if the bristles are beginning to splay. This is why Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust will be offering a toothbrush amnesty at each event we hold. The public can bring along their old and worn toothbrush, and can have it swapped for a new one.