National Smile Month
National Smile Month, 15 May - 15 June
National Smile Month is taking place between 15 May – 15 June 2023, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of oral health and promoting the value of a healthy smile.
This year’s theme is 'Brush for better health' – which focuses on tackling inequalities and providing people with information, tools and support to achieve the smile they deserve.
According to statistics from the Oral Health Foundation almost 2 in 5 adults (39%) don’t visit a dentist regularly and around 6 million adults in the UK have had long-lasting pain (over two weeks) caused by toothache.
A healthy smile not only benefits your mouth, it also helps you achieve better physical health and mental wellbeing.
The good news is that a healthy mouth is easy to achieve. Here are some top tips from the Oral Health Foundation for achieving great oral health:
Two minutes twice a day
Brushing for two minutes last thing at night and at one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste is key to maintaining good oral health.
Daily brushing is important because it removes plaque. If the plaque isn't removed, it continues to build up, feeding on the bits of food left behind and causing tooth decay and gum disease.
Start interdental cleaning
Brushing may come before flossing in the dictionary, but it shouldn’t when it comes to our teeth. Research shows that interdental cleaning before brushing is the best way to clean our teeth effectively.
The action of cleaning in between our teeth, using interdental brushing, dental floss or water or air flossers, loosens bacteria and food debris from between our teeth. This allows brushing to be much more successful at removing plaque.
Studies show that those of us who interdentally clean before brushing are left with a much cleaner mouth than those who did it afterwards.
Using interdental brushes or flossing is a key part of any good oral health routine.
Spit, don’t rinse
After we have brushed our teeth, we should spit out the toothpaste. At this point we might be tempted to rinse our mouth out, but if we do, we’ll be washing away the fluoride which continues to help protect the teeth.
Fluoride is the most important ingredient in toothpaste. It greatly helps oral health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay.
Spitting out the excess paste and not rinsing ensures that the fluoride found in the majority of toothpastes will remain on the teeth and continue to be effective.
Try a fluoride mouthwash
You can provide a boost to your oral health by using a fluoride mouthwash as it helps to clear the mouth of debris. It can also help you stop plaque from building-up on our gums, in-between our teeth, and on the surface of our teeth in between brushing.
Mouthwash can help to freshen our breath by killing the bacteria associated with bad breath.
Use a fluoride mouthwash daily as a supplement to brushing twice daily, but not as a replacement.
Beware of snacking
What we eat can have a big influence on our oral health. Snacking every now and again may seem harmless but can actually do more damage than you think, particularly if you are having sugary foods and drinks.
Many of us are guilty of regularly skipping meals and eating sugary snacks instead.
It’s far better for our teeth and general health if we eat three meals a day instead of having snacks to get through the day. Try and maintain a healthy balanced diet and for our teeth it’s important to avoid sugar when we can.
It’s never too early or too late
National Smile Month is the perfect time to evaluate your oral health, improve your routine and help others around in your household do the same.
For children, it’s never too early to learn about the importance of great oral health and how to achieve it. We have some fantastic Dental Buddy resources which can help provide vital education on good oral hygiene and is suitable for a variety of ages.
On the other hand, if you, or someone you know, has got into some bad habits, it’s never too late for you to make a positive change and improve your oral health. What better time is there than during National Smile Month.
For more information on how you can support some of the most vulnerable people achieve better oral health, visit www.smilemonth.org
National Smile Month: How to clean your teeth (dentalhealth.org)
National Smile Month: Diet and oral health (dentalhealth.org)