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Give Your Smile an MOT

Chances are your waistline isn’t the only thing that’s suffering after the festive season.

You’re not alone if you’re finding yourself in need of some post-festive season revitalisation; the temptations of the party season are always followed by a spate of diet and exercise resolutions in a frantic bid to detox and shape up.

But a month of eating and drinking sweet seasonal specialities is not only dangerous for your waistline - exposure to sugar and carbohydrates can cause havoc with your teeth, worsened by occasionally falling into bed after a Christmas party without cleaning your teeth.

The good news is, a healthy mouth could mean a healthy body too; according to recent research, keeping your mouth clean and healthy can improve your overall health.

Eating foods that contain sugars and carbohydrates of any kind can contribute to tooth decay if left unchecked – and often delicious foods that provide key nutrients contain sugar. Fruit juices and smoothies, for example, are packed with healthy vitamins and antioxidants, but are also rich in sugar. You don’t need to remove them from you diet though, you simply need to learn how to protect your teeth. Here’s how:

• Have a piece of cheese at the end of your meal. Some foods actually help protect against tooth decay, and hard cheese is one of them. It increases the flow of saliva so it gets rid of acids, plus cheese also contains calcium, phosphate and casein, a milk protein, which protects against demineralisation. Finishing a meal with a piece of cheese also helps counteract acids produced from carbohydrate foods eaten at the same meal.

• A glass of milk is a good bet too – it contains calcium, phosphate and casein, and the milk sugar, lactose, is less cariogenic than other sugars.

• After a meal or snack, one of the easiest ways to help prevent the build up of plaque and eventual tooth decay is to chew sugarfree gum. That’s because the action of chewing stimulates saliva production – nature’s very own ingredient for getting rid of harmful acids in the mouth. The British Dental Health Foundation has clinically proven it to help prevent the build up of plaque on teeth and to help to keep your teeth healthy, clean and fresh after meals and snacks.

• Choose your toothpaste wisely. It should contain fluoride to help to strengthen your teeth.

• Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if it’s become worn down.

• Floss and use mouthwash to clean the areas that your brush may not be able to reach, and kill bacteria.


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