World Oral Health Day

Every year World Oral Health Day is held on March 20th to highlight the importance of oral health for a healthy body.

This year, this global campaign is urging people to live mouth smart. This means developing good oral hygiene habits, avoiding risk factors and having a regular dental check-up from early in life to help maintain good oral health into old age.

Oral health matters because it can impact every aspect of your life, from personal relationships and self confidence to school, work and even enjoying your food. If you feel embarrassed about your teeth, it could make you stop laughing, smiling and interacting with others. And if your mouth is unhealthy (if you have gum disease, for example), it can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, pancreatic cancers and pneumonia, says the FDI World Dental Federation, the organisers of the campaign.

So how exactly can you live mouth smart? Here are some tips from the campaign that may help:

Eat less sugar   Having lots of sugar in your diet from snacks, processed food and soft drinks is a leading risk factor for oral disease. Also pay attention to how much sugar you add when preparing your own meals.

Give up smoking   Using tobacco increases your risk of gum disease and oral cancer, while causing stained teeth, bad breath, premature tooth loss and loss of taste and smell.

Drink in moderation   Excessive alcohol drinking can lead to injury, often to the mouth and teeth, and can cause tooth decay owing to the acidity and high sugar content of alcoholic drinks. It also increases your risk of oral cancers.

Brush twice a day   Poor oral hygiene can lead to the build-up of harmful plaque-forming bacteria, but brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste helps reduce the bacteria. Here’s what you should do:

• Brush for two minutes each time, using a manual or electric toothbrush.

• Don’t rinse with water afterwards, just spit out the excess toothpaste instead.

• Clean between your teeth using floss or other interdental cleaners.

• Rinse with a fluoride mouthwash or chew sugar-free gum after meals and snacks.

Have regular check-ups   Seeing your dentist as often as they recommend will help to make sure problems such as tooth decay and gum disease are spotted as early as possible.

Find out more about what’s happening this World Oral Health Day by visiting www.worldoralhealthday.org. Meanwhile, your local Careway pharmacist has everything you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss and interdental brushes. Many pharmacies also offer help with giving up smoking if you’ve decided to take the plunge.

Find your nearest participating Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.