National Smile Month

An excellent opportunity to improve your own oral health.

Next monday (15th May) marks the start of  National Smile Month the aim of which is to improve the oral health of the nation.

It does so by focusing on three specific areas:

●     Twice daily brushing with a fluoride toothpaste

●     Cutting down on sugary foods and drinks

●     Visiting your dentist on a regular basis

These are routines which, hopefully, most of our Wickford patients already follow, but it does no harm to stop for a few minutes and consider if we are doing enough to take care of our teeth.

Brushing habits

Although we may brush our teeth twice a day, it is worth asking whether we are doing so effectively. Is your toothbrush old and worn, and the bristles soft? If so, your brush will not be as effective at removing food debris and bacteria as it should be. A toothbrush should be no more than three months old. If yours is, then it is time for it to be thrown away and a new one purchased. The same also applies to the head of an electric toothbrush.

Do you brush your teeth vigorously? If so, there is no need to and you may well be doing more harm than good. Although you may remove food and bacteria in this manner, you may also wear away the enamel and increase the likelihood of decay. Aggressive brushing can also cause gums to recede, exposing the more vulnerable dentin layer that would otherwise be covered by your gums. A gentle circular motion is all that is needed. If you are unsure whether you brush too hard, many electric brushes have a sensor which cuts out if too much force is used. These may be a useful acquisition.

Reducing sugar

Most people are probably aware that sugar increases the risk of tooth decay. Did you know that it also can contribute to a higher risk of gum disease as well? If you do have a sweet tooth, try to eat at a time when you would brush your teeth soon after. Never be tempted to have a sweet snack (or any other food really) after you have cleaned your teeth at night. Sleeping with sugar coated teeth is a sure way to risk tooth decay.

Visiting your dentist

Whilst we generally recommend that you see one of the dentists at the Cygnet Dental Practice every six months; if you have been advised to do so more frequently, please follow this advice. Some patients, such as diabetics, are at a higher risk of oral health issues and more frequent visits helps us to monitor your teeth and gums and provide early stage treatment if needed. In addition to seeing one of our experienced Wickford dentists, we also highly recommend regular appointments with our hygienist too. This is an excellent way of helping to ensure that your gums are healthy as well as offering an opportunity to ask for any advice about your oral health regime.

If you would like to read more about the National Smile Month, you can do so at or, if our blog has made you think “I must make that dental appointment”, you can do so by calling the Cygnet Dental Practice on 01268 733078.