Today is World Oral Health Day and while you probably started it this morning by brushing your teeth, and will probably end it by brushing them again, it’s a good time to give a bit of thought to your dental health.
Taking care of your gnashers day-to-day is the best way to avoid serious problems later on. In general, you should be paying a visit to your dentist at least once a year but if you have troublesome teeth it’s worth going more frequently – and if any problems pop up, get them sorted as soon as possible.
Making friends with the dentist
We know: going to the dentist isn’t most people’s idea of a good time but if you’re nervous about going, there are dentists that specialise in dealing with anxious patients. Google for ones near you and always ask around for personal recommendations too. If money is more the issue, we have some good news.
At the end of last year, the Irish Government reintroduced a number of benefits in the Treatment Benefit Scheme (woo hoo!). If you pay Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) you could be entitled to a free dental check up every year. If it costs over €42 for a scale and polish, you’ll pay a maximum co-payment of €15. You may also be eligible for a payment towards periodontal treatment, if it’s clinically necessary.
You’ll have to go to a dentist who is on Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection's panel, but most dentists on there so it shouldn’t be too hard to find one near you. Go to welfare.ie for more info on the scheme and other benefits.
In the meantime, here are some top teeth loving tips from Irish dental brand, Spotlight Whitening.
Brush teeth twice per day. Brushing is the only way to effectively ensure reducing plaque build-up. We recommend people brush for three minutes, even if their teeth feel clean after one!
Avoid sugary foods and drinks. We all love our treats every now and again but just be sure to pay particular attention to brushing after consuming sugary things to stop the sugar attack on the teeth.
Don’t forget to brush your tongue! Bacteria can build up here and it is the number one cause of bad breath.
Dark liquids such as coffee, tea and red wine can stain the teeth. Pay extra attention to brushing your teeth after consuming such to help keep staining to a minimum. If possible, drink through a straw.
Use products that contain fluoride. Fluoride helps make teeth more resistant to acid attacks, helping to prevent tooth decay.