According to the Oral Health Foundation, almost 2 in 5 adults don’t visit a dentist regularly, 1 in 3 have tooth decay, and there are 8,772 new cases of mouth cancer each year.
These stark statistics make us glad that National Smile Month is back again from May 15th to June 15th, with the aim of helping everyone achieve a healthy mouth and avoid preventable oral health issues.
Brushing for better health
Every year National Smile Month takes on a different theme, and this year it’s ‘brush for better health’.
It can be easy to take the benefits of daily brushing for granted, and almost 1 in 3 people in the UK do not brush twice a day. However, brushing is an essential step in removing plaque build-up. Without it, tooth decay and gum disease will develop.
It is also vital that we raise awareness of the importance of daily brushing for children. The average child will miss three school days a year due to dental problems, and tooth decay is the most common reason for hospital admission in children aged six to 10.
Furthermore, 81% of secondary school teachers say they have pupils in their school who do not have regular access to toothbrushes and toothpaste.
National Smile Month is enlisting supporters across the country to get more people brushing twice daily and to show people how to brush their teeth effectively. This includes education, activities, events and competitions that you can get involved with to put a healthy smile on faces all over the country.
Week 1: Caring for your mouth
Each week of Smile Month has a different focus, beginning with week 1: the mouth.
Our mouths are key to our confidence, communication, social life and career. They also make it possible for us to speak, eat, drink and breathe – which is why we should give them the best care possible.
During week 1, the Oral Health Foundation will be providing easy-to-follow tips for keeping teeth, gums, tongues and lips in the best shape possible. One such tip is to spit and not rinse after brushing teeth with a fluoride toothpaste. This ensures that the fluoride remains on the teeth and protects them against decay. Read more about preventing tooth decay in last year’s blog post.
Week 2: Perfecting your oral health routine
Week 2 is all about the perfect daily oral health routine. This should include brushing your teeth last thing at night and one other time during the day, using a fluoride toothpaste, brushing your tongue, using interdental brushes or floss, using mouthwash every day and cutting down how much and how often you consume sugar.
Brushing your tongue is an often-overlooked step in a healthy daily routine, but the tongue is the largest area where bacteria can gather in colonies. Read up on the daily health checklist and stay tuned during week 2 of Smile Month for more details on how to include this simple step in your routine.
Week 3: How oral health affects the rest of your body
Week 3’s focus is systemic diseases, exploring the ways that oral health affects the rest of the body. Poor oral health can worsen conditions such as heart disease, respiratory diseases, diabetes and dementia. This week will involve raising awareness for the signs to look out for and how you can prevent certain health conditions with good oral health.
Week 4: The impact of brushing on the environment
Most toothbrushes are made of plastic, and it’s estimated that 256 million toothbrushes are bought and discarded in the UK every year. In week 4, the focus will turn to the environment and tips for reusing and recycling our oral health products.
Week 5: How technology is transforming teeth
Lastly, week 5 will explore how technology is transforming our approach to oral care. From electric toothbrushes to apps that encourage children to brush regularly – this week of Smile Month will explore how efficient these gadgets are for better brushing and which ones are worth the investment.
This week will also explore how technology has advanced at your dental practice to make your visits more comfortable. With regular visits and a thorough daily routine, maintaining a healthy mouth has never been easier!
The more people that get involved in Smile Month, the more impact it will have. You can explore all of the activities and competitions that are coming up, and catch up with National Smile Month on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
For professional advice on how to look after your oral health, call us on 01482 565488 to make an appointment with one of our experienced hygienists.