Dr Kate’s Top 3 Dental Hacks for Busy People
So many of us lead crazy hectic lives these days. It’s easy to see why some people find it hard to make time for their teeth. Here are my top three tips for busy people to integrate dental care into your day
Tip 1) Have some chewing gum on hand
Sugar free gum is one of the best weapons we have against tooth decay. Not only does it help to remove the debris that gather in the grooves of your teeth after eating, but it also stimulates the saliva we need to help protect our teeth and buffer acids that occur in our diet. A recent study found that all 12 year-olds across the UK chewed sugar-free gum after eating or drinking the NHS would save an incredible £8.2million each year.
Each time we eat or drink foods containing sugar or carbohydrates, our mouth has an acid attack. One of the important roles of saliva is to fight off this acid attack by flushing out the food and neutralising the acidity. So having some chewing gum on hand in the car, in your bag, or on your desk at work to pop after meals and snacks is a great way to make sure that when you have eaten something, your body can bounce back quickly from the acid attack.
Some gum such as Recaldent even contains minerals that can help strengthen the teeth. However the reality is, you don’t need anything fancy. Any over the counter gum can have the desired effect, as long as it is sugar free.
Tip 2) Become a super sipper
It’s not just the quantity of water you drink that has an important effect on oral health, but also the frequency. Water can flush away any food that remains in the mouth after eating, and provides the saliva glands with the fuel they need to function properly. Frequent sipping of water throughout the day can ensure your mouth stays comfortable, and will reduce the temptation to snack.
Grab yourself a stylish BPA free drink bottle and keep it with you in your bag, on your daily commute and near where you work as a prompt. You might also want to use other positive habit prompts, such as having a sip of water each time you check the time on a clock.
Upping your water intake frequency can have a huge effect on your oral comfort and long term health, all for next to no cost!
Tip 3) Mindful tooth brushing
Many people feel they don’t have the time for meditation, relaxation or mindfulness in their daily routine, but perhaps the 2 minutes you have morning and night for tooth brushing is the perfect place to start?
Think about what your mind does when you’re brushing your teeth. For many of us, we’re in a rush, making lists in our mind, thinking about all the things we have to do today or tomorrow, or sometimes even doing something with the other hand while we brush.
We are increasingly seeing people causing damage to their teeth due to aggressive or incorrect brushing habits. If you grip your toothbrush too hard and scrub in a linear motion, this can cause irreversible damage and ridging of the teeth that can become sensitive and unsightly. Mindful tooth brushing is a great way to avoid this, and also to start to practice the art of controlling your own thought responses.
To start mindful tooth brushing, set yourself a 2-minute timer, using your phone, electric brush or simple egg timer from a cooking shop. Then start to carefully, systematically work your way around your mouth, brushing one tooth at a time. You may start up on the top right and work all the way around the outside of your top teeth, then the inside, before doing this again for the lower teeth. It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you develop a pattern for reaching each tooth, and avoiding haphazard, random scrubbing.
You usually don’t need to look in the mirror for this and may even close your eyes. Try to focus on the sensations your teeth and gums are feeling. The tastes, the sounds and the feeling of what your arm is doing as you brush. If your mind wanders or slips into autopilot, try to recognise this as normal, and bring it back to the task at hand. By quietening the mind and bringing it back into the present moment, you will strengthen your ability to control and calm your thoughts at other times in the day. Starting with 2 minutes morning and night for mindfulness is a great way to begin making time for this sort of health enhancing mental training, and your teeth will also reap the benefits!
If you would like to discuss your dental and oral health needs book a consultation with Dr Kate Amos or Dr Sam Rosehill at Ethical Dental on 6652 3185 or book online.
If you would like more tips on how your habits and lifestyle can affect your oral health check out our articles ‘What are the common bad habits that cause dental problems?’ and ‘What causes bad breath?’