23 June 2015

The long wait is over and this week 135,000 people will descend on Worthy Farm in Glastonbury to herald the real start of the British festival season, amongst all the partying it is important to look after yourself so we here at the British Dental Health Foundation have taken a look at the top tips for oral health at festivals.

Make sure your toothbrush is on top of your packing list

There is a lot for you to take to a festival but a recent British Dental Health Foundation survey placed your toothbrush as the must pack item to take on holiday and this is no different for festivals. With the likely increased consumption of alcoholic and sugary drinks and disruption of eating patterns it is even more vital that festival goers pay close attention to their teeth as this can potentially increase the risk of dental erosion and tooth decay. Not packing a toothbrush just does not make any sense.

Drink Water!

The sun is beaming down (hopefully), the party is in full swing and you know it's always a good idea to stay well hydrated. What you may not know though is that this could be massively beneficial to your teeth. Studies show that soft drinks could play the most significant role in the severity of dental decay and erosion so it is advised to reduce the amount of sugary and acidic drinks you drink - and that includes alcohol. Drinking water directly after eating has been shown to help remove acids from the mouth, again reducing the effects on dental decay and erosion.

Sharing is not caring

You may share a kiss, share a drink, share a fork but there is no excuse for sharing a toothbrush. Brushing your teeth can sometimes cause your gums to bleed potentially exposing everyone who shares a toothbrush to bloodborn diseases. There are countless bacteria and viruses which lurk in the human mouth ranging from the minor to the life threatening such as hepatitis B or HIV. At a festival the humble toothbrush, and most likely yourself, is in the ideal environment for bacteria to grow so great care should be taken not to encourage the spread of anything other than love and peace.

Is that really mud you're swimming in?

You and your tent are covered in "mud" and you need to keep your essentials clean and safe but what is important and what do you keep with you at all times during a festival? Your phone? Your money? Your glo-sticks? Well how about your toothbrush? How you store your toothbrush can have a significant effect on your oral health with issues such as cross contamination and bacterial growth magnified by the melting pot of a festival crowd. By keeping your toothbrush at hand and in a sealed bag you can hugely reduce the chance of infection with the added bonus of a quick brush up before any smiley selfies.

Breath of fresh air

You smell! It's hot and sweaty; you've not had a shower in days and your tent in too close to the toilets but at least if you have packed some sugar free gum you have fresh breath.....and a healthier mouth. Chewing sugar-free gum helps protect your teeth and gums in between meals when it may not be possible to brush. By stimulating the production of saliva chewing sugar-free gum can help to reduce acid attacks which occur after eating and drinking and aid in the protection against dental decay and erosion.

Eat, sleep, rave, repeat

Eat, sleep, rave, repeat - the very recognisable routine of a festival. But it is important to take a bit of time out to look after yourself, especially your mouth with everything it goes through on a daily basis. Brushing within an hour of eating or drinking acidic foods can be damaging to your teeth as the enamel is softer and tiny particles could be brushed away. Give yourself an hour and give your mouth, and your head, a chance to recover.

"Opening a beer bottle with your mouth makes you a man" claims idiot

We all know that your mouth goes through a lot and this is even more of the case at a festival and we don't just mean food and drink wise. Major damage to teeth can be caused by unnecessary stress put upon them by behaviour such as opening bottles, teeth can become cracked causing pain and often needing major treatment including possible removal. The advice is easy don't do anything with your mouth you wouldn't normally.

Are you prepared to pay twice?

A Glastonbury festival ticket costs £225 that is before extras push costs up to an average of over £550. But that is not the only costs that you need to take into account when considering your oral health. Any problems arising from bad oral habits at festivals may result in expensive treatment, with NHS dental treatments costing up to £222.50 and private treatments running much higher. But the pocket is not the only hit you may take with poor oral health potentially causing a vast array of further health issues.

Our advice to you during the festival season is your mouth is precious, you only get one in your lifetime but it is also delicate and needs looking after. Get more tips and advice from the British Dental Health Foundation at www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about or via the dental helpline on 01788 539 780.