New year brush-up

Lucy Stock, dentist at Gentle Dental Care, Belfast on why we should all take a moment to re-assess our dental regime and make time for our teeth in 2018

Make time to clean your teeth twice a day if you want to avoid the dentist's chair
Lucy Stock

“HOW did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”

So wrote Dr Seuss: but really where has all the time gone? How come we are all so 'rush, rush, rush'? Do you suffer from no time to brush your teeth, no time to prepare healthy food, no time to have your dentistry done?

Is the excuse of not having enough time to brush your teeth every day good enough? The mornings can be frenetic and often people say they are too tired after a long day of work, so both ends of a day can feel too 'time squeezed' to fit in toothbrushing.

The thing is, bacteria keep going whether you are under time pressure or not. Bacteria work day and night to build up plaque on teeth, causing inflammation and disease in our mouths.

So sorry, guys, you need to come up with a better excuse if you want a healthy mouth and body.

Your teeth cleaning home routine needn't take forever. Toothbrushing and cleaning in between the teeth can take a matter of minutes. Cleaning between the teeth with wood sticks or teepees can be done one handed, not necessarily in front of a mirror or in the morning rush.

A handy tip is to put your teepees or wood sticks in a bowl so they are easy to reach and place them where you spend time, perhaps beside your computer, TV or where you read a book.

This means you can kill two birds with one stone. Remember toothbrushing alone is not enough to maintain a healthy mouth, you need to clean between the teeth every single day.

Another time tip when dealing with children is to say, “Time for toilet and teeth.” Repeating this mantra every day, even if the child doesn't respond some days, will link the idea in their heads so they will be more likely to continue good habits into adulthood.

As I started with Dr Seuss it seems appropriate to finish with him too:

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go."

Happy new year to you all.

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