If you care about your oral health, you shouldn’t only think about it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. If you’re like many people, you spend eight hours a day in an office. But even at your desk, there are a number of time-saving oral health hacks you can perform at work to keep your smile and breath as fresh and healthy as it can be.
Keeping a glass of water on your desk and sipping on it regularly is a good idea. In an air-conditioned office, sipping on water keeps you hydrated. It will also help you avoid getting a dry mouth, which can lead to bad breath.
But a glass of still water can also seem a little boring for some people, so they replace it with soda water. It’s still water, right? How bad can it be?
Problem is, soda water is more acidic than still water.
The way you make soda water (or fizzy water, or sparkling mineral water) is by passing carbon dioxide through water. When you do that, it creates carbonic acid, which makes the water more acidic.
When you sip on an acidic drink regularly over a long period of time, the acid wears away the enamel on your teeth.
So drink water, by all means. But not fizzy water.
If you feel you can’t live without juice, at least try to drink it through a straw. Drinking through a straw will also help you avoid any sore spots if you already have sensitive teeth.
Whether you’re drinking soda water or orange juice, any drink with higher acidity than water, it will eventually have some impact on your tooth enamel. That’s why dentists often advise against drinking sugar-filled soft drinks. They have the double whammy of acidity from the carbonation process, and acidity from the sugar.
Regular snacks are another way people get themselves through the workday. If you have a personal trainer or go to a nutritionist, they may have recommended snacking on nuts or carrot sticks as a way of keeping your energy levels up.
Another common workplace snack is a block of chocolate, which you nibble on after lunch. I don’t need to tell you that having a block of chocolate isn’t good for you. But if you really can’t get through the afternoon slump without one, try to eat it all in one go.
Snacking is not a good thing for your oral health. It’s not the quantity but the frequency that’s critical. Covering your teeth in something sweet or sticky will create a perfect environment for the bacteria that leads to caries.
So whether you’re eating trail mix or chocolate, eat what you want then put it away. Snacking is a recipe for poor oral health.
There are some folk who bring their own toothbrush and toothpaste into work and brush their teeth after they’ve had their lunch every day. No-one here in my dental practice does that.
If you’ve got a high risk of caries or periodontal issues, it might be a good idea to be overzealous with brushing your teeth. Otherwise, twice a day is good enough. It’s also a bit of a pain keeping a toothbrush and toothpaste on hand all the time.
If you don’t want to bring your own toothbrush everywhere, you can take advantage of doing a quick floss. Carrying a small packet of floss around is much easier than a toothbrush and toothpaste, and lasts longer.
One result of flossing no-one ever talks about is the finger squeeze from flossing. Wrapping the dental floss around your fingers can lead to purple-coloured digits and a lot of discomforts. But a quick, easy way to deal with it is simply tying your piece of floss in a circle. You can then hold it comfortably when moving it around your mouth, with no need to wrap around your fingers to get a bit of tension.
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