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What you can do to improve your overall oral hygiene?

  • In the lead up to National Smith Month, Divya Anand, discusses some of the important health issues surrounding oral health and what you can do to improve your overall oral hygiene.

    By Divya Anand

National Smile Month is seen as the UK’s largest and longest running oral health campaign which aims to promote awareness on how to maintain healthy oral hygiene. Some of them are fairly obvious for example brushing your teeth before you go to bed using fluoride toothpaste, going to see your dentist once every 6-9 months and limiting your intake of sugary foods and fizzy drinks. However, some of them are not so obvious and so I hope this article gives you an interesting insight into how you can improve your oral health further.

  • Don’t neglect your tongue! Most of us know to use a tongue cleaner or gently brush your tongue using your toothbrush. Some may skip this step but according to Healthline, plaque can also build up on your tongue and not only can this lead to bad mouth odour, but it can lead to other oral health problems.
  • Floss! It’s so easy to miss this step because you can’t be bothered or don’t have time but according to Colgate, ‘don’t skimp on the floss.’ Even introduce floss to your children. According to Colgate, when your child has two teeth touching, it’s time to introduce daily flossing. The NHS recommend regular flossing which may reduce gum disease and bad breath by removing plaque that forms along the gum line and whilst some of us prefer to floss after brushing our teeth, the NHS advises to do it before.
  • Stay away from too much balsamic dressing and ketchup but carry on with cheese (in moderation of course)! According to, cheese can protect your teeth as it creates a protective layer around your teeth which neutralises the acid in plaque but balsamic dressing and ketchup are one of the worst offenders, along with red wine, which can stain your teeth.
  • Use mouthwash with fluoride to help prevent tooth decay! According to, plaque contains over 300 species of bacteria and using an antibacterial mouthwash will help keep bad bacteria at bay. According to the same site, in Roman times people would use sterile urine as a mouthwash! However, be careful not to use mouthwash straight after brushing as according to the NHS, as this can wash away the concentrated fluoride in the toothpaste left on your teeth. Choose a different time to use mouthwash, such as after lunch.

National Smile Month begins on 17 May 2021 and ends on 17 June 2021. We should all take steps to raise awareness and ensure we are doing as much as we can to maintain good oral hygiene.

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