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Looking after your teeth

If you’re anything like us, all those winter hot chocolates, pastas and red wines have left your teeth in need of a little attention. So we asked holistic dentist, Lewis Ehrlich, to share with us the habits we need to ditch for a happier, healthier mouth. Here’s how to look after your ivory face furniture.

Old habit: Storing your toothbrush…wherever
New habit: Keep it clean, dry and covered
We all know that we should replace our toothbrush every three months (and immediately after having a cold or flu), but did you know if your toothbrush is stored near a toilet bowl it should be replaced even sooner (ideally it should be well away from a toilet and covered!).

Old habit: Having a cheeky late night snack
New habit: Story eating two hours before bedtime

For the sake of a good night’s sleep and happy teeth, Dr Ehrlich says we should eat dinner early and stop eating around two hours before bed (no pre-dinner chocolate!). This will reduce the risk of digestion and acid reflux issues while sleeping, which can cause a number of tooth related issues like erosion and tooth decay.

Old habit: Brushing your teeth once a day
New Habit: Cleaning your teeth twice a day
Sure, brushing your teeth once a day is a start, but Dr Ehrlich stresses that you really need to brush your teeth once in the morning and once in the evening, for at least two minutes. Always brush your teeth in a systematic way so you don’t miss areas of your mouth every time you brush.

Old habit: Flossing whenever you remember to
New habit: Flossing after you brush every day
Flossing once a day (usually in the evening) is also important, says Dr Ehrlich, because it gets to areas where your toothbrush can’t. Make sure you are taking your floss gently underneath the gum line. This is where most aggressive, inflammation-causing bacteria live.

Old habit: Wanting whiter teeth
New habit: Helping your teeth get whiter
The best way to keep your teeth white is to avoid foods, drinks and habits that stain your teeth, says Dr Ehrlich. The main culprits are coffee, tea, red wine and cigarettes. The best way to avoid staining from coffee and wine is to try to avoid holding the liquid in your mouth for long periods of time, wash it down with water and although it’s not the best look, drink them through a sustainable straw!

Old habit: Snacking on packaged foods and sugary treats
New Habit: Eating natural, healthy foods your teeth love

If our ancestors couldn’t recognise what you eat as food, then it probably isn’t good for your teeth, says Dr Ehrlich. Highly processed foods that are sticky, acidic and filled with refined sugars are best avoided for the health of our teeth. We should be eating natural, nutrient-dense foods that are high in vitamins, because consuming these allows our teeth and jaws to stay strong.