Taking place between May 20 and June 20, National Smile Month is a great opportunity for us to learn a little more about our oral health and find out just why it is so important to our overall well-being.
You may not think it is true, but looking after your oral health really can make a difference to how healthy you are. So there are plenty of reasons for looking after your oral health.
If you take a second to think about it, your mouth is the first port of call for lots of things. If you don’t keep it in a good condition, it’s an ideal place for bugs and nasties to get into the bloodstream. In fact, poor oral health has been linked to quite a few unpleasant things in the last 12 months:
- Gum disease has been linked to high blood pressure during pregnancy
- Dementia could be brought on by increased poor oral health.
- Scientists have even discovered severe gum disease could lead to a higher risk of developing oral cancer
Never mind the serious stuff, your oral health is also really important as it enables you to do something very special – smile. It costs nothing and can make a real different to the recipient. It can make a difference to many walks of life – be it personal or professional. It’s a proven fact members of the opposite sex are attracted to a great smile. Studies into smiling, laughter and generally feeling happy suggest they can have a positive effect on your physical and mental health. If you don’t look after your oral health, one of life’s great intangibles could suffer.
Speaking of attraction, there’s nothing worse than talking to someone with bad breath. It’s a complete turn off and can often lead to lower self-esteem. National Smile Month is the perfect opportunity to do something about it. The smell is caused by gas producing bacteria on teeth and on the tongue, so taking better care of your teeth and removing plaque can really help the quest to rid you of bad breath.
Gum disease and tooth decay are the two biggest reasons to keep up good oral health. In fact, around a third of adults and children still have tooth decay in the UK. Both are entirely preventable, but they’re also very common. Gum disease is the largest cause of tooth loss in adults, and it’s something you’re likely to get at some point in your life.
So there really aren’t any excuses to not to improve your oral health. The best way to do it – a visit to the dentist.
At all dental practices we have to ask our patients about their general health, what medications they take (in detail), and any health problems or allergies they may have. We need this information as most medical problems and medications are relevant to dentistry. The relevance is not always obvious so we have to ask that our patients give us full and honest information.
One of the questions we ask is ‘how much alcohol do our patients drink in a week in units?’ We ask this as alcohol is a risk factor for mouth cancer and because dentists are well placed to offer advice on reducing alcohol consumption. The amount we drink is always a tricky question, as many people drink sporadically, maybe having a few drinks one week and none the next. Also alcohol units are often confusing. A 125ml glass of wine at 10% alcohol was considered to contain one unit. However glasses of wine now are often 250ml (1/3 of a bottle) and are 14% alcohol which is 3 units!
Perhaps the most striking observation made whilst medical histories are being taken, in the first quarter of 2013, is that an increasing number of patients are telling us that they have reduced their alcohol consumption. This is the first time we have seen a general trend of people reporting that they drink less than they used to.
What’s even more interesting is to consider what might be happening. Either people are drinking less and therefore honestly reporting that they drink less. Or people are continuing to drink the same amount but are reporting that they drink less. I suspect it is a little of both. The constant media coverage of binge drinking and the problems of drinking, all part of the “nudge agenda”, are possibly having an effect. But is the effect on alcohol consumption itself or just on reporting of alcohol consumption? A recent BBC news story (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21586566) reported on a study which compared the amount of alcohol people said they drink to the amount of alcohol sold. They found that there was a significant discrepancy between the two figures of “almost half” suggesting under-reporting of 40-50%.
In any case our advice would be if you wish to, drink alcohol responsibly, aiming for no more than 3-4 units per day for men, and 2-3 for women. Also try to have at least a few days each week, when you have none at all. If you can reduce your alcohol consumption then do so, you’ll potentially be healthier and wealthier.
See more information on our website http://www.northwaydental.co.uk.
Many thanks to everyone who has viewed and commented on our new website. I am very pleased to say it is going down very well. April showed we had 500 unique visits and 3400 hits.
So what’s new?
- We’ve added a google map and updated our information with google. So you can find us easily.
- We’ve added a resources section to the site where you can download the information leaflets that we use in our practice on a variety of topics from having less tooth decay to what a crown is and how it works.
- We’ve added to our resources section a live feed from our powerpoint based display screen system in our waiting rooms. This has been in operation for around 5 years now providing information to our patients for the short time when they are waiting to be seen. If you missed any information you can view it on the resources section.
- We are continuing to update our blog.
If there is anything you want to add about our site then please either leave a comment on our blog here or email us.