Everything you do from the moment you wake up affects your oral health. From when you brush, to what you use to keep your mouth clean on the go, as well as what you eat and drink during the day – it all has an effect on the health of your mouth. As we are sponsors of this year’s National Smile Month, we spoke to campaign organisers, the Oral Health Foundation, to look at a typical morning routine and what you can do to keep your mouth healthy.
6:30am – Wake up
Sleep is rudely interrupted by your alarm, and it’s time to face the day. With everything you have going on, oral health might not be the first thing on your mind but the start of the day is always where caring for your mouth begins. Brushing before breakfast is key, as afterwards, your enamel can be in a weakened state due to acids in your food, and therefore brushing at this point can cause tooth damage. Brushing alone only cleans two-thirds of a tooth’s area so cleaning in between your teeth with an interdental brush or floss is vital. It’s useful to make brushing your teeth part of your morning hygiene routine alongside your shower and, importantly, before your breakfast. It only takes two minutes, and by brushing before anything else, it gives time for the fluoride, which helps protect your teeth from tooth decay, to kick in before breakfast.
7:00am – At the gym
It’s time to quickly hit the gym. Sports drinks may seem like a good way to keep hydrated, but they are incredibly high in sugar and acids and can quickly cause oral health problems, especially if they have sports caps and you sip them throughout your workout. Water is really all you need to keep hydrated, and it’s free in most gyms.
8:00am – Breakfast
It’s breakfast time and your choices about what to start your day with make a huge difference to your oral health. A glass of orange juice and grapefruit may seem like a good choice for your body, but they are extremely high in natural sugars and are very acidic. Cut down on the number of times per week you have this kind of breakfast and try avoiding sugary cereals and spreads, as having these too often is a major cause of tooth decay. A low sugar cereal or yoghurt is a great way to start the day.
8:30am – On the go
Picking up a hot drink on the way to work? Pay attention to the amount of sugar in your morning cup of tea or coffee. Some choices have more sugar in them than a can of coke and can severely damage your teeth, especially if you sip them over a long period. You also should bear in mind how many cups of tea, coffee and coke you may drink throughout the day, as frequent consumption of these drinks may stain and colour your teeth as well as any sugar in them causing decay. A great alternative is a black or green tea which contain naturally high levels of fluoride.
9:00am – Work
Work time, but no let up for considering your oral health. Pay attention to what you are drinking as you go about your day, sipping on sugary drinks over a long period of time means your teeth are coming under constant acid attack. If you’re fond of fizzy drinks, even diet ones, drink them through a straw to help bypass the teeth and minimise their impact, even better is to sip on water instead. Hunger creeps up on you, but it’s too early for lunch, which means it’s time to delve into the snack drawer. Resist the urge to over-indulge in those office cakes and sugar-filled biscuits! And Dried Fruit can also pose a risk as it’s very high in sugar. The best choice for your oral health is fresh whole fruit and a handful of nuts, these are also great for your overall health.
12:00pm – Lunch
Finally, lunchtime. When it comes to your oral health, it’s best to try and keep all sugary foods and drinks to mealtimes. After eating, you should wait an hour before you brush your teeth, but you must get back to work. No problem. Chewing sugar-free gum, while not a replacement for brushing, is a great way to look after your teeth during the day. It helps produce saliva which restores your mouth to a neutral state, and it quickly gives you a quick hit of fresh breath too.