It’s official; in 2019 we’re busier than ever, between gruelling commutes to and from work and longer working hours, it seems we’ve simply run out of time to take care of our health. Since last year it’s been reported that an eye-watering two thirds of UK adults are working longer hours every week, and with longer hours, comes neglect to our health.
When you think of the busy professional it’s unlikely you will automatically think of oral health, however these industries are becoming increasingly linked. In the last ten years there’s been a flood of research linking our busy lives to poor oral health. Poor oral health does not just lead us to have unattractive smiles and bad breath, but we know now it can lead to much more serious health issues including type two diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
It’s been unveiled in a survey by National Smile Month that
- 25% of British adults don’t brush their teeth twice per day.
- 1 in 20 of British adults would skip brushing their teeth if they only have five minutes to get ready.
So, with our ever stressful careers putting huge time constraints on our lives it are we too busy to take care of our teeth and must we simply accept that with the erosion of free time comes the erosion of our teeth? Or are there on-the-go methods we can adopt to avoid the negatives impacts of poor oral health?
What Happens When A Tooth Decays?
When a tooth decays, plaque that has built up produces an acid that softens the protective enamel on our teeth.
Signs Of Tooth Decay
- Tooth sensitivity
- Tooth discolouration
- Bad breath
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth
One of today’s biggest causes of tooth decay is sugar. It has an ability to speed up the production of acid in the mouth, which leads to decay. Today our lifestyles have led to the highest consumption of sugar of all time; whether this be energy drinks on the go or convenient snacks on the daily commute. It’s advised that men should consume no more than 70g of sugar per day for a man, but when 330ml can of regular Coca-Cola or Pepsi contains 35g – or almost nine teaspoons of sugar it seems we’re overloading on the sweet stuff.
Our Smiles Matter
Those who suffer from poor oral health often lack confidence due to their appearance. This lack of confidence is having detrimental impact on people’s careers; in a study by the British Dental Association discovered that:
- 62% of those asked felt that people with visibly decayed teeth, missing teeth or bad breath may miss out on a job over those who were not suffering.
- 6 in 10 believe tooth decay could hinder their promotion prospects.
Jamie Newlands of an award winning dental implant practice in Glasgow explains the rise of young professionals seeking his help:
“I see millennials neglecting their teeth more than ever and restorative surgery is becoming more common. My patients visit with their confidence shaken due to decay, many people don’t realise just how important oral health is until it’s too late”
How to Prevent Tooth Decay
1. Snack Sensibly
Snacking throughout the day doesn’t give our mouths to produce the saliva that washes away the acid caused by snacking. Typically this takes about 40 minutes, so eating should be reduced to 3-4 times per day rather than constant grazing.
If you are constantly on the go choose snacks such as cheese and nuts which are rich in calcium and drink water after meals on-the-go to rinse the mouth of acid.
2. Use A Straw
We love fizzy drinks, and the 2015 report from the British Soft Drinks Association show we’re swigging 14.8billion litres of the stuff! By consuming these drinks through a straw you limit the amount of damage done to the teeth as the liquid avoids contact with them. You should position the straw at the back of the mouth when drinking fizzy juice, coffee, tea and fruit juices.
3. Chew Sugar Free Gum
While it’s not recommended for a professional to chew gum throughout meetings, popping a piece of gum into your mouth after a snack is a great way to encourage saliva production. This will neutralise the acid that’s created after eating. Make sure the gum is sugar-free and avoid coloured gums, as these will encourage acid in the mouth.
4. Floss When You Can
Brushing your teeth while at work is most likely inconvenient, but dental floss is a compact and water-free alternative. You can even floss when stuck in a traffic jam, and after a few practice goes a mirror shouldn’t be needed. Flossing helps dislodge food that is stuck between the teeth. If you find you’re bleeding after flossing for several weeks you should consult your dentist.
Long Term Dental Plans
By using these tips day-to-day you should be able to reduce the chances of suffering from embarrassing and health endangering tooth decay. These should not replace your daily oral hygiene routine and we should all endeavour to brush using fluoride toothpaste, floss and swill mouthwash twice daily.
If you have any concerns about your dental health, book an appointment with your dentist who will be able to find any areas of concern. Oral hygiene is more than just ensuring a great looking smile, but it encourages our overall wellbeing too, regardless of our busy lives.