Five oral health life hacks you need to know as we head into the silly season
Paula Morris is an Oral Health Therapist who enjoys taking care of smiles in the community.
Christmas is upon us, and as we juggle plenty of social events, we’re also likely consuming more sugar and acidic goods – alcoholic drinks and silly season desserts being the key culprits! As such, it’s important to protect our teeth to avoid any permanent damage amidst the celebrations.
We know brushing and flossing our teeth is important, but what else can we be doing to ensure oral hygiene? Paula Morris shares five health hacks for your teeth below, including myth busting some common misconceptions.
FACT 1: If you’ve been sick, you should brush your teeth ASAP
Myth! If you’ve taken things too far with the Christmas food and silly season drinks and have struggled to keep them down, you might be tempted to brush your teeth straight away. But Paula says you shouldn’t! Your stomach acid softens the teeth and brushing too soon after can wear them away. Wait at least half an hour before brushing and in the meantime, gently swish some water around your mouth to help wash the acid away.
FACT 2: If your gums bleed when you floss, you should stop
Another myth! If you’re flossing for the first time in a little while, you might find that your gums bleed – this is no reason to stop. It’s common for gums to bleed due to inflammation caused by bacteria and is likely to be caused by plaque stuck between teeth. You can avoid this if you maintain daily flossing, so keep going even if your gums bleed, as preventing decay is the best way to care for your teeth.
FACT 3: Eating cheese can help prevent tooth decay
Fact! There is evidence to suggest that cheese can help prevent cavities, so revel in the season of cheese boards and grazing platters. Cheese contains a protein called casein which strengthens the enamel on your teeth – it also helps to prevent acid from ruining enamel too. Cheese is also high in calcium which promotes strong teeth.
FACT 4: The more you brush your teeth, the healthier they’ll be
Myth! Brushing your teeth too frequently can lead to enamel damage, so don’t go overboard after eating or snacking during the day! Brushing once in the morning and once at night, along with flossing, is sufficient and will keep your teeth looking and feeling fresh. Your best bet is to “swish and swallow” some tap water after eating during the day – the bonus is that you also improve your hydration.
FACT 5: You should change your toothbrush every 3 months
Fact! Even if your toothbrush still looks as good as new doesn’t mean it’s not full of bacteria. Get into the habit of changing your toothbrush or brush head every three months. If you got a gift card for Christmas, why not treat yourself to some new bristles! Your mouth will thank you for it.