Don't forget your toothbrush! 22-09-2016

Weekends and holidays are the times when we all kick back: normal routines and habits go out of the window, and we are tempted to leave that pile of washing, or piece of housework, to do in the week. Research by GlaxoSmithKline, as discussed in the Daily Mail this week, suggests that neglecting our household tasks isn't the only thing to go off our agenda during these days away from our desks.

According to GlaxoSmithKline, as reported in the Daily Mail, as a nation we have some worrying habits when it comes to our oral hygiene routines. In the research carried out, one fifth of those who took part admitted to not brushing their teeth at the weekend. They gave numerous reasons for downing tools, including feeling the effects of a hangover, or simply not feeling the need as they had no plans to leave the house. Furthermore, of those surveyed who were still brushing, almost 30% were brushing for only 1 minute or less. It certainly seems that the time and dedication to maintaining oral health is lacking over the weekend!

The advice from the Oral Health Foundation is that, in order to maintain healthy teeth and gums, we need to follow a consistent hygiene routine:

Teeth should be brushed at least twice a day. One of these occasions should be last thing at night, the other at another convenient point during the day.

Fluoride toothpaste should be used.

Each occasion should last two minutes. It may be helpful to use an app or a timer (some electric toothbrushes have this built in), so that you know when you've reached two minutes.

Use interdental brushes to reach the surfaces in between your teeth.

Failure to maintain a consistent routine can lead to numerous problems, including tooth decay. Our teeth can be affected by the acids in sugary foods and drinks we consume. Over time, these acids wear away the enamel and dentine of our teeth, which can lead to holes or cavities forming. These require filling by the dentist. In severe cases, teeth can be lost. By brushing our teeth regularly and maintaining good routines, we can reduce the exposure our teeth have to sugars and acids, limiting the potential for cavities to appear. Having a break from brushing over the weekend, or whilst you're on holiday, gives time for these acids to build up, increasing the risk of tooth decay beginning.

The weekend is a chance for a well deserved break, and a chance to escape the daily routines. However, it's important to prioritise your oral hygiene routines: although missing brushing your teeth here and there might not feel like a big deal, acids can build up and cause painful and inconvenient problems in the future.

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/