We can all lapse in our habits and routines sometimes: we might have had a busy day, not be feeling 100% or a social engagement may have taken over. Nonetheless it's important that we carry out our normal hygiene routines, and continue to take care of ourselves.
This week the Daily Mail have reported on a study conducted by GlaxoSmithKline which revealed some of our nation's worst habits when it comes to oral health. They found that 20% of the Britons surveyed neglected to brush their teeth at the weekend. Of those questioned a variety of excuses were given, including factors such as suffering from the effects of overindulgence the night before, and not needing to go out or socialise with others. GlaxoSmithKline, as reported in the Daily Mail, also reported findings around the length of time respondents brushed for: almost 30% of those surveyed brush for a minute, or less. As a nation, a particular weak point was weekends and holidays. On these occasions we may be more relaxed and may have a tendency to neglect our normal habits.
The Oral Health Foundation recommend that, to keep gums and teeth healthy, we should brush our teeth twice a day: once last thing at night, and on one other occasion during the day. Fluoride toothpaste is recommended. On each occasion, you should brush your teeth for two minutes. It's also a good idea to use interdental brushes to clean the surfaces between your teeth. This is often where food particles lodge themselves and get stuck, which can lead to decay.
Tooth decay leads to holes or cavities (and potentially tooth loss) over time, as the enamel and dentine of a tooth are affected by acids from sugary foods and drinks. Over time the sugars and acids wear away at teeth, until a cavity starts to appear. This will requiring filling by a dentist, or removal in severe cases. Brushing teeth regularly and keeping to a good oral hygiene routine dramatically reduces the risk of tooth decay. Through brushing, we reduce the exposure that our teeth have to sugars and acids, and limit the potential for cavities to appear. Taking a break from brushing over the weekend means that all those sugars in our food and drink have a chance to linger on our teeth and gums, and to start to cause decay.
So as you put your feet up this weekend, try to maintain your oral hygiene routines as closely as possible. It might seem a bit unnecessary when you're not leaving the house, but your teeth and gums will thank you for it!
For the Daily Mail article, and GlaxoSmithKline survey results visit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3794771/One-five-teeth-cleaning-brush-weekend-fifth-Britons-admit-shunning-hygiene-practice-Saturdays-Sundays.html
For more information from the Oral Health Foundation visit: https://www.dentalhealth.org/