News & blogs Blogs and vlogs Living the fast life: how to maintain good oral health as a 21st century working adult 30 May 2018 Going to work day-to-day is undoubtedly a huge responsibility. First there’s the commute, which for many people consists of sitting in traffic or desperately trying to cram yourself onto a packed train during rush hour. Then once you eventually get to work you’ve got a mountain of work to get through before the clock strikes 5pm. Maintaining good oral health when you live a busy lifestyle can be difficult but there are simple habits you can develop to make sure your working day doesn’t prove detrimental. To that end, here are my top five tips for maintaining good oral health in the workplace. Drink water It sounds simple of course but drinking water really can do wonders for your oral health. Water is not acidic, has no sugar or calories, and during a time of year where we’ll all aiming for a summer-bod with the spectacular smile to match, all three of those are huge bonuses. In terms of oral health, drinking water will not increase your risk of tooth decay, enamel erosion or gum disease so there is no downside to drinking water at all. However, it can help you tackle morning breath, keep you hydrated and if it is fluoridated, it can strengthen tooth enamel. Did I mention that water is also often free and provided by pretty much every working environment you can think of? Drinking water throughout the working day is not only easy but it’s hugely beneficial to your oral health and general health. Stop unhealthy snacking Being a serial snacker is not an easy habit to break but it’s one that you need to stop if you really want to make sure your teeth stay healthy. Many people make the mistake of thinking it’s okay to have the odd sweet treat or drink every now and again throughout the day, but this can do more damage than you might think. Every time your teeth comes into contact with anything sugary, they’re essentially under attack. This lasts for around an hour before your teeth return to your normal state. So, imagine over the course of a normal working day where you’re snacking on sweets, chocolates and having a sip of a sugary drink every couple of hours – your teeth would be continuously under attack all day long. Over a long period of time, I’m sure you can imagine the damage this could possibly do! So ideally, cutting down and eventually ditching the habit of snacking is the best way to avoid this kind of problem. If you do still need to snack or you find it too tough a habit to break then don’t worry there are snacks you can have throughout the day that are unlikely to do any harm to your teeth, such as: Cheese Raw vegetables Nuts Breadsticks An easy guide is that savoury snacks are always better than acidic or sugary ones so always opt for them if you can’t kick the habit! Chew sugar-free gum Something that may help you break an unhealthy habit is developing a new one and when it comes to oral health on the go there are few better or more convenient habits you can pick up than chewing sugar-free gum. It can help protect your teeth and gums in between meals when it might be difficult or perhaps just inconvenient to brush them with a fluoride toothpaste. Additionally, it helps your teeth return to their normal state quicker if you chew for around 20 minutes. Believe it or not, saliva is the mouth’s natural defence against acid and chewing sugar-free gum encourages the mouth to produce more saliva. In summary, keep some gum nearby because it can work wonders! Cut down and quit smoking Most of us are now very aware that smoking cigarettes is really bad for your health generally. Among other organs it damages your heart, your lungs and it is the single biggest cause of preventable deaths in England. What you may not be fully aware of is the toll that smoking can have on your teeth, gums and oral health as a whole. It can lead to tooth staining, gum disease and in severe cases, mouth cancer – a disease that almost 8,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with each year. Additionally, smoking makes a huge dent in work productivity. The time spent outside shivering in the dull, freezing British weather will make it more difficult for you to get through that pile of work on your desk and meet deadlines. It all adds up and by getting rid of that smoking break, you’ll be a lot more productive! There are so many big reasons for why you should try to cut down on cigarettes and quit. Your oral health is just one of them. Visit your dentist Your health and well-being should always be your first priority. Part of maintaining a good level of oral health and avoiding serious dental problems involves visiting your dentist on a regular basis, as often as they recommend. Did you know that around 7% of the UK’s 29 million workforce have called in sick as a result of an oral health problem at least once in the last five years? Furthermore, poor dental hygiene has been frequently linked to other more serious medical conditions like diabetes, strokes and heart problems. When you consider all that, it isn’t worth missing a dental appointment because you feel you need to go to work or because you don’t have enough time. The consequence of not looking after your teeth and gums may be much more of an inconvenience to you and your employer than visiting your dentist. So, make sure you put your health and well-being first.