Healthy Tip: National Smile Month

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This week marks the beginning of National Smile Month, the UK’s largest and longest-running campaign to promote good oral health.  The 2017 campaign runs from 15 May until 15 June and is organised by oral health charity, the Oral Health Foundation.  The campaign hopes to raise awareness of important health issues, and make a positive difference to the oral health of millions. 

Give yourself a few moments to think over how you can take care of your pearly whites whilst maintaining a healthy heart.

Oral health
Infective endocarditis is a serious infection of the inner lining of the heart and affects around one in 10,000 people every year in the UK.  Dental treatments are thought to be one of the main causes, with up to a half of all cases being caused by bacteria found in the mouth.  Also, bacteria may enter the bloodstream during daily activities such as tooth brushing, flossing and chewing food, particularly in those with poor oral hygiene and gum disease.  This suggests that good oral hygiene is especially important in people who are susceptible to endocarditis.

Clean routines
Keeping to a good oral hygiene routine at home and visiting your dentist regularly will help to prevent gum disease.  The NHS recommends brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day with either a manual or electric toothbrush for two minutes, and regular flossing. Remember, spit don’t rinse! Rinsing immediately after brushing will wash away the fluoride and dilute its effects.

Give up fizzy drinks
Keep your sugar intake down and cut out the fizzy pop to look after your heart and teeth. Fizzy drinks can contain large amounts of sugar, which will increase the risk of tooth decay. Sugar-free or "diet" alternatives also contain acids that can erode the outer surface of the tooth. Choose healthier fizzy alternatives without the added sugar.  Try soda water and fresh fruit juice or low-calorie tonic and slices of lemon and lime.

A daily dose of vitamin D
Vitamin D is made naturally by your body through sunlight which causes a reaction under the skin to produce this important vitamin.  It is one of the building blocks to keep your teeth, bones and muscles healthy. Also, a lack of vitamin D may be linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
A daily dose of vitamin D be it through diet, or a supplement if necessary, together with a walk in the sunshine, will help to keep your bones, teeth and muscles strong and healthy as well as lifting your mood and brightening your day. Fish and shellfish are rich sources of calcium and vitamin D which are important for healthy bones and teeth.

Delicious dairy delights
Dairy foods are an excellent source of calcium for healthy teeth and bones. A portion of cheese should be no larger than your thumb so grate it finely rather than slicing it to make your portion go further or use strong-tasting cheese like mature cheddar to get more flavour while using less