How to keep your smile healthy

This World Oral Health Day (March 20, 2018) campaigners are emphasising that oral health is about much more than having an attractive smile.

Indeed, a look into your mouth can reveal a range of health problems, such as nutritional deficiencies, signs of other diseases as well as signs of unhealthy habits including smoking or heavy drinking. In other words, your mouth reflects your general health and wellbeing.

Not only that, but a health mouth lets you speak, smile, eat, drink and perform other physical functions throughout your life, as well as boost your self esteem and promote social interaction. But if your mouth isn’t healthy you could experience discomfort, pain and disease, leading to social isolation and a lack of self confidence.

The overall message is that if you look after your mouth, your body will thank you. So here, according to the organisers of World Oral Health Day, are the steps you should take right now to keep your oral health in top condition:

Eat healthily Eating too much sugar from snacks, processed food and soft drinks is a major risk factor for oral disease – mainly tooth decay. But it’s also a risk factor for health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Eating too much sugar can also make you gain weight.

Stop smoking Using tobacco in any form – smoking or smokeless – contributes to developing gum disease and oral cancer. Tobacco use also contributes to heart disease, respiratory disease and other cancers, and is the leading cause of preventable death in the world.

Drink alcohol in moderation Drinking too much alcohol is a major risk factor for more than 200 diseases, including oral diseases globally and disability in developed economies. Alone or in combination with tobacco, excessive alcohol increases the risks for cancers of the mouth, gum disease and tooth decay.

Brush twice a day Having poor oral hygiene can lead to bacteria-forming plaque in the mouth, and leave the teeth and gums vulnerable to oral and other diseases. Long-term gum infection can eventually result in tooth loss, but it can also affect the control of other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, using either a manual or electric toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste.

Here are some other oral hygiene habits that could give your oral health a boost:

  • Don’t rinse with water straight after brushing, spit out any excess toothpaste instead.
  • Rinse with a fluoride mouthwash or chew sugar-free gum after meals and snacks when brushing isn’t possible.
  • Clean between your teeth using floss or other interdental cleaners for additional benefits.
  • Have regular dental check-ups (as often as your dentist recommends).

Find out if there are any World Oral Health Day activities being held near where you live at

And don’t forget, your local Careway pharmacist has all the products you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.