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    World Oral Health Day - 20th March

    It’s a day when all around the world people are promoting the benefits of a healthy mouth and the importance of good oral hygiene. As a Periodontal specialist, this is important to me, to encourage patients to look after their mouths and help prevent the effects of gum disease i.e. loss of teeth.

    This year the campaign’s emphasis is on:

    It all starts here. Healthy mouth. Healthy body

    So to help promote this day, here are ten tips to help you maintain good oral health and importantly healthy gums, to promote longer lasting teeth and a healthy body.

    1. Always brush your teeth and gums for at least two minutes, twice a day everyday.
    2. Use a small headed brush (I recommend a powered toothbrush for a really effective clean) tilt the brush at 45 degrees to the gumline and work your way around the mouth, making sure you brush inside and outside.
    3. Brushing /scraping the tongue can prevent bad breath, by removing bacteria that produce volatile sulphur compounds.
    4. Clean in between the teeth millions of bacteria in your mouth are found between the teeth. Flossing and using interdental brushes are very effective in removing these bacterial deposits and should be performed daily. Ask your dentist or hygienist for advice on what will be best for your mouth.
    5. Change your toothbrush regularly (3-4 monthly), once the bristles of the brush are worn they are less effective at removing plaque (bacterial deposits).
    6. If you find your gums bleed on brushing/flossing/eating seek advice from your dentist or hygienist. It could be a sign of gum disease, which can lead to loss of teeth.
    7. Stop smoking! Smoking increases your risk of having gum disease and increases your risk of tooth loss
    8. Eat a healthy balanced diet, vitamins especially vitamin C and minerals such as zinc and iron have been associated with better oral health.
    9. Limit the number of sweet and acidic foods/drinks you consume throughout the day. This will reduce your risk of tooth decay and tooth wear. Frequent tea/ coffee with added sugar can be a common cause of tooth decay. If having something sweet / acidic (fruit juice/ fresh fruit/ fruit teas) try to drink water after and eat foods to neutralise the acid such as cheese/ yoghurt/milk.
    10. Look after your body, mouth and mind, but most importantly don’t forget to smile!

    Please spread the word and help fight the battle against tooth loss….

    If you are concerned about your oral health do seek help. It’s better to treat gum disease early rather than leave it until its too late.
    I’ll cover how to recognise the early signs of gum disease in a future blog I’m sure…but for now following these steps, should help you avoid / reduce your risks.

    Posted by Monica Lee
    Dental Surgeon & Specialist in Periodontology