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10 ways to improve your oral health for Valentine’s Day

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Chocolates, candy hearts, champagne… Valentine’s Day can be lovely, but all these treats can be tricky on your teeth.  We have some tips and tricks from some of the experts and some handy products to keep your breath fresh and your mouth healthy this Valentine’s…

  1. Pucker up: First of all, kissing is actually very good for your oral health. ‘Bad Breath Guru’ Dr. Harold Katz says that the anticipation of a kiss increases the flow of saliva to your mouth and gives your teeth a plaque-dispersing bath. A dry mouth can really have an impact on your breath too.
  2. Try a toothpick: The last thing you want when you’re on a date is a piece of food stuck in between your teeth. Not only is it a bit embarrassing, it could also be detrimental to your oral health. TePe EasyPick™ toothpicks are designed to help users dislodge pieces of food and to help clean the 40 per cent of the tooth that regular tooth brushing misses. Coming in a handy travel pack, why not keep these in your bag. You can find these little gadgets in Boots and Sainsbury’s RRP £4. tepetoothpicks
  3. Reduce cold sores: The herpes cold sore virus can be picked up from one simple kiss with an infected person, which is why over 30 million people in the UK carry the virus. Liquorice Balm  was found to be effective in a trial, carried out by the Herpes Viruses Association on, reducing severity and duration of outbreaks for over 73% of people tested. Liquorice Balm can be rubbed into lips as often as necessary and not only could it help reduce cold sore outbreaks, it is also a nourishing balm that helps keep lips well-conditioned. You can pick this up for RRP £7.95 on Skin Shopliqbalm-with-liquorice-euro-enhanced
  4. Take care of your toothbrush: There are more than 10 million bacteria on your toothbrush right now according to a recent study at the University of Manchester. That means there are considerably more bacteria on your toothbrush than your average toilet seat. Easy to use, Steripod simply clips on to the head of any manual or electric toothbrush. The ‘pod’ is designed to safeguard a toothbrush, protecting it against environmental contamination, keeping it clean and smelling fresh, for up to three months with “active vapours”. Steripods are available in larger Boots stores, Boots.com, Amazon, Superdrug, ASDA, Boyes Stores RRP £4.99. steripod_toothbrush_final_2_green_large
  5. Make sure to clean BETWEEN your teeth: Dental hygienist Sara Kendall advises her patients to make sure to clean between their teeth, as not all bacterial plaque is removed by brushing alone. “Cleaning between your teeth will help prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Not all bacterial plaque is removed by brushing alone, and flossing and interdental brushes reach the areas between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach.”
  6. Don’t dry out: Nutritionist Cassandra Barns says that dehydration is one of the most common reasons of bad breath. “If you are one of those people, who survive on coffee and forget about topping up their water bottle you are most likely to develop bad breath during the day. Saliva is a natural antiseptic and it plays a crucial role in breaking down food particles trapped within dental crevices, protecting teeth from bacterial decay.” man offering a glass of water
  7. Chew sugar-free gum: Barry Cockcroft, Non-Executive Director at mydentist says chewing gum (make sure it’s sugar-free!) can benefit your teeth and gums. “The increased saliva flow is enormously advantageous, helping with everything from reducing the risk of cavities to bad breath.” chewing gum
  8. Quit smoking: As well as affecting your breath, smoking is one of the biggest causes of teeth decay and discolouration says Dr Peta Leigh, from elleven dental. “Smoking can cause teeth to turn yellow over a very short period of time and years of smoking can even turn teeth brown. To stop this from happening, the answer is simple- stop smoking. Plus it will improve your overall health dramatically.” A great way to quit the habit is try a quit smoking product, such as NiQuitin Minis Mint lozenges, which help to reduce withdrawal symptoms including the irritability and frustration that individuals may feel in the first few weeks of quitting. Grab some of these for RRP £5.49 (20 pack) in most supermarkets and pharmacies.
  9. Keep your tongue clean: Elaine Tilling, Head of Clinical Education at TePe UK advises using a tongue cleaner to help remove plaque from the surface of your tongue as this can build up and cause bad breath. “If it is your first time, avoid placing the tongue cleaner too far back. Begin cleaning from the front, slowly moving to the back of the tongue to ensure you don’t trigger your gag reflex. Ask your dental hygienist to show you an effective comfortable technique if you are unsure.”
  10. Use a good mouthwash: Using a mouthwash can be a great way to freshen up your mouth, but some people might not like the intense flavour. The Breath Company Oral Rinse stops the bacterium that causes bad breath without using any harsh chemical ingredients, and because it doesn’t contain alcohol, it doesn’t burn or sting after use. You can get your hands on The Breath Co Fresh Breath Deluxe Starter Kit RRP £13.99 on Boots.com or in Boots stores nationwide. the-breath-co-starter-kit-open
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