MILLIONS of people are unable to find an NHS dentist – some are waiting over TWO YEARS to be seen.
And the thousands who are traveling abroad for an appointment have been warned not to do so by the Foreign Office after a string of deaths.
With National Toothache Day this month, Britain’s pressured dentists say simple steps at home will help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
From eating an apple or chewing gum after meals to drinking water and flossing daily, good dental health can protect against diseases like Alzheimer’s and heart disease, according to dental hygienist and therapist Anna Middleton.
Anna, founder of London Hygienist, said: “Better oral health is good for overall health.
“Not only do the harmful plaques and bacteria in your mouth contribute to tooth decay and gum disease, but they can also enter your bloodstream and other parts of your body, leading to heart disease, brain disease and diabetes.”
According to the British Dental Association, Covid has resulted in nearly 50 million lost dentist appointments and more than 2,000 dentists have left the health service since 2021, contributing to delays.
Some parts of the country are now referred to as “dental deserts”.
Many qualified overseas dentists no longer come to work in the UK as it can take years to complete all the exams needed to register here.
In the last two years, the number of dentists doing NHS work has fallen by 10 per cent.
Anna said: “The NHS is under pressure, which is very difficult for patients, but there is also plenty to do at home.”
Patients should see a dentist once or twice a year.
People with a history of dental problems and pregnant women whose gums are sensitive to plaque should go more often.
Anna also had advice for teenagers.
She said: “Children’s enamel is thinner, so their risk of tooth decay is higher.
“Save sweet treats until the end of meals instead of snacks because when you stop eating or drinking, saliva brings your mouth back to a neutral state and stops the damage that sugar does.”
“For the same reason, children should drink water or eat an apple after a meal. Adults can have a mint or a piece of gum.
“All children should visit the dentist before the age of one if possible and brush twice a day with a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste for two minutes each time.”
Anna shares her tips for fighting five common tooth and gum problems at home.
Five common dental problems
Gum disease and tooth decay: THESE are related and avoidable.
In their early stages they are even reversible.
Both are caused by plaque bacteria releasing acid that erodes tooth enamel and irritates gums, leading to gum disease.
If left for a few days, it builds up and becomes harmful.
Brushing and flossing twice a day will prevent this and reverse the damage.
Avoid high-sugar diets that speed up the problem.
Think of it this way: You wouldn’t wash a dirty car wheel by simply throwing a bucket of water over it.
Plaque and bacteria are sticky, so you need to clean them thoroughly.
BAD BREATH: ONE cause is poor oral hygiene.
Using interdental brushes, dental floss, or dental floss to get rid of food and bacteria trapped between teeth will help you eliminate rotting food.
Effective brushing is also important, and that includes the gum line.
If your teeth are a window, the gum line is like a window sill—and you need to remove any plaque that collects there.
HEALTHY gums do not bleed.
More than 80 percent of people have some form of gum disease, and bleeding is the first sign.
It can be anything from reversible gingivitis to irreversible periodontitis.
If you notice bleeding, continue to cleanse in all of the healthy ways outlined above.
They should heal within two weeks.
If this is not the case, see a dentist or a dental therapist who can be visited without a referral.
WE ALL lose a little bit of healthy structure as we age, but there are ways to prevent gum recession.
When cleaning, do not scrub or brush too hard.
Good oral hygiene prevents gingivitis.
When they become inflamed, fragile gum tissue does not grow back, resulting in sensitivity in less mineralized areas.
If that happens, rub a little sensitive toothpaste into those areas and leave it on before bed.
Address the underlying issues BEFORE purchasing commercial teeth whitening products.
Change what you eat and drink.
If it stains your carpet, it stains your teeth.
So avoid tea, coffee or red wine.
Electric toothbrushes are also helpful.
https://www.the-sun.com/health/7370517/simple-steps-teeth-gums-healthy/ From eating an apple to chewing gum – these simple steps will help to keep your teeth & gums healthy