Healthy Tip: World smile day

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On the 6 October 2017 World Smile day commences, which was created to honour Harvey Ball, a commercial artist who drew the first famous yellow smiley face in 1963.  Since then the first Friday of the month in October is dedicated to ‘’improving the world, one smile at a time.’’ 

Periodontal disease (gum disease) has been seen to have links to increasing your risk of heart disease, due to a build-up of bacteria and inflammation moving to the blood vessels around the body and reducing the blood flow to the heart.  The good news is, there are many ways that a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of both dental decay and heart disease.  Follow our healthy tips and be well on your way to a beaming smile for a happier, longer life. 

Sweet tooth
High sugar foods such as cakes, chocolate and sweets are known to cause tooth decay and weight gain and could lead to oral and heart problems. Sticking to the current recommendations for ‘free sugars’ should help you to decrease your risk of tooth decay. Some useful ways to reduce your sugar intake is by having a smaller portion of your favourite snacks, using low sugar spreads such as peanut butter on toast, finding unsweetened cereals and checking the nutritional labels.  Sugars found naturally in fruit and vegetables are safer for your teeth as they are found within the structure, so keep reaching for your 5-a-day.

Puff of smoke
Smoking can cause problems for the mouth such as bad breath, stained teeth, loss of taste and gum disease. Stopping smoking can not only have positive effects on your oral health but also heart health, as the tobacco in cigarettes has dangerous effects on your blood vessels increasing atherosclerosis. There are many reasons to quit smoking that not only benefit yourself but others around you. Think positive, use distractions and set dates so that you stick to it for longer. Lots of services are now available to help you stop and social support is important for healthy teeth and hearts. 

Drink smart 
Different types of drinks including alcoholic, smoothies, fruit juice and milk can have different effects on both your heart and oral health. Exceeding healthy limits on alcohol can result in mouth dryness, teeth staining and dental erosion. You can cut down your alcohol intake by making small changes; such as limiting the size of the glass, keeping hydrated with water or getting creative with mocktails. Other drinks such as fizzy pop and fruit juices can contain nearly double the daily amount of ‘free sugars’ recommended. By switching to sugar free alternatives and opting for sensible portion sizes of ‘not from concentrate’ varieties of fruit juice, you get the taste and the goodness without the danger. Other ways to reduce problems is by sticking to water, drinking through a straw or having your drinks at mealtimes as this could reduce the damage to your teeth. 

Soak up the rays 
Vitamin D comes from UV light from the sun which our bodies absorb during spring and summer months and has been linked with strengthening of the teeth and the heart, so it’s important to get outside when you can and take a supplement in the winter months to keep your stores topped up. UK recommendations for Vitamin D can be met by most people from daily bursts of sunlight, a varied healthy diet and by including heart healthy foods such as oily fish and fortified breakfast cereals.  If you work long hours, spend a lot of time inside or eat a restricted diet you may need to consider supplements as autumn sets in. 

Smile your way into the month by trying out these top tips to keep both your heart and pearly whites happy. Make stepping stone changes to your diet and drinking habits and get active outside in the fresh air and sunlight to see significant differences in the appearance of your teeth and health of your heart.