Last week, I had my twice-a-year dental check-up. It’s one of those things that’s easy to put off, right? But once it’s done, you bounce out of that chair feeling pretty smug (or at least, I do) and happy in the knowledge that you’ve been an A-grade grown-up. That you’ve done the right thing for your health.

But on this occasion, I actually had a second reason to be grinning when I left the dental surgery: my dentist made a point of commenting on how well I care for my teeth.

It may sound odd to compliment a 31-year old on how well they brush and floss, but I loved it.

Why? Because it’s no secret that whole-body health is important to me, and that includes oral health. I’m mindful of what I eat and how I exercise, so it’s reassuring to know that I’m doing all the right things to keep my whole mouth healthy too.

Later on that day, the visit to the dentist’s chair got me thinking; if whole body health and wellbeing are front of mind then shouldn’t we be talking more about the health of our mouths? After all, they’re our vehicles to smile, laugh, eat, kiss — there are so many reasons to look after them!

And while it’s pretty common knowledge that we should dodge sugary drinks, there’s plenty more to mouth health than that.

For example, did you know:

That the bacteria in the mouth live everywhere?

We often think of them just being on our teeth, but the bacteria in our mouth are actually on our gums, cheeks and tongue too. So, don’t forget to give them a thorough clean while you’re brushing your teeth, and always follow up with floss and mouthwash too. I use the New Colgate Total range, reformulated specifically for whole-mouth health. This ultimately gives me up to 12 hours of protection against bacteria with 4-weeks continuous use rather than just a clean.

That a nutritious diet can help support a healthy smile?

Good news! The things you eat for overall wellbeing are likely the same things you need to be eating to maintain good mouth health. Avoid sweets, choose water instead of juice or soft drinks, enjoy a wide range of colourful fruits and vegetables (for all the vitamins and minerals they provide) and opt for quality lean protein sources. And don’t forget dairy foods like hard cheese and plain yoghurt! They’re packed with calcium, which is an essential component of teeth and bones.

That even healthy foods can contribute to tooth decay?

With that being said, even healthy foods can contribute to tooth decay. Naturally-occurring starches and sugars can build up over time, promoting plaque and decay. That’s why even though diet is important, it’s only one part of the bigger picture. Make sure that you’re giving those teeth — and gums, and cheeks, and tongue — a good thorough clean at least twice a day.

Got more mouth health questions? Colgate has everything you need to know right here.

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