We also encourage you to look after your dental wellbeing, including teeth and gums during this testing time. Access to dental care is quite restricted at the moment and it is likely to be sometime before the routine care that we are used to will be available, so it makes sense to do all that we can to manage our oral health as best we can.
The link between oral health and general health
There is an established link between Diabetes and Gum disease. The risk of developing periodontitis is approximately three times higher in people with diabetes, particularly if their diabetes is poorly controlled. There is also increasing evidence that serious gum disease can also make it harder for you to control your diabetes.
Furthermore there is also a significant body of evidence to support independent associations between severe gum disease and several chronic disease including cardiovascular disease chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic kidney disease.
At any time it is important that we look after our oral health to reduce the risk of more generalised health problems. During the current lock down the need to understand these risks and to be aware of how we can reduce the risk is key to managing our overall wellbeing
Stop smoking and moderate your alcohol intake
Clearly smoking is not beneficial for any part of our general health but smoking also puts us at risk of oral cancer. Smoking and drinking together increases the risk of mouth cancer by up to 30 times. Being confined at home for long periods can increase the likelihood of increased consumption of alcohol and higher smoking levels mainly due to boredom so moderation of these bad habits is important for both oral and general wellbeing
Smoking can also increase the risk of gum problems. Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal diseases. Smokers are up to six times more likely to show periodontal destruction than non-smokers, show a poorer response to treatment and are at increased risk of recurrence.. The effect is cumulative – the risk is increased the more you smoke and the longer the you smoke for. Ideally during this time, you should try to quit smoking if possible but if this is not possible please try not to increase consumption.
Even smoking 1-4 cigarettes a day increases their risk of developing periodontitis by almost 50%.
Our diets directly affect our teeth. It is important to increase the amount of vegetables which contain healthy fibre. Reducing the volume and frequency of consumption of sugary and acidic foods and drinks is important. It is so easy to snack regularly when at home all day but it is important to avoid snacking on sugary foods and drinks. Acidic fruits, fruit teas and fizzy drinks can also erode tooth enamel so enjoy these things only in moderation.
Brush your teeth twice/day
Plaque is a biofilm of bacteria on the surfaces of our teeth. Brushing our teeth thoroughly twice /day removes this biofilm and reduces the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. It is important to brush our teeth as effectively as possible spending time to reach those difficult to access areas. See our video link showing the most effective toothbrushing technique
Electric toothbrushes can make brushing easier; most have timers and pressure sensors, so these help to ensure efficiency. If however you have been advised by your dentist/hygienist that your brushing is effective with a manual brush there is no absolute need to switch to an electric toothbrush