From eating an apple to chewing gum – these simple steps will help to keep your teeth & gums healthy | The Sun

MILLIONS of people cannot find an NHS dentist – with some waiting more than TWO YEARS to be seen.

And the thousands who are travelling abroad for an appointment have been warned against it by the Foreign Office, following a string of deaths.

With National Toothache Day this month, Britain’s under-pressure dentists say that taking simple steps at home will help to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

From eating an apple or chewing gum after meals, to drinking water and flossing daily, good dental health can protect against illnesses, including Alzheimer’s and heart disease, according to dental hygienist and therapist, Anna Middleton.

Anna, founder of London Hygienist, said: “Better oral health is good for overall health.

“The harmful plaque and bacteria in your mouth not only contributes to dental decay and gum disease but is able to enter the bloodstream and other parts of your body, with links to heart disease, brain disease and ­diabetes.”


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Covid led to almost 50 million lost dental appointments, according to the British Dental Association and more than 2,000 dentists have quit the health service since 2021, adding to delays.

Some parts of the country are now being described as “dentistry deserts”.

Many trained dentists from abroad are no longer coming to the UK to work, as it can take years to complete all the exams required to register here.

In the past two years there has been a ten per cent drop in numbers of dentists carrying out NHS work.

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Anna said: “The NHS is under strain, which is really hard for patients, but there’s lots people can do at home too.”

Patients should see a dentist once or twice a year.

People with a history of dental problems and pregnant women, whose gums become hypersensitive to plaque, should go more often.

Stops damage

Anna had advice for youngsters, too.

She said: “Children’s enamel is thinner so their risk of decay is higher.

“Keep sweet treats to the end of mealtimes rather than snacks because, when you stop eating or drinking, saliva returns the mouth to neutral and stops the damage sugar does.

“Kids should drink water after a meal or eat an apple, for the same reason. Adults can have a mint or gum.

“All children should see a ­dentist before the age of one, if possible, and brush twice daily, with a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste for two minutes at a time.”

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Anna gives her tips for fighting five common teeth and gum problems at home.

  • For more info on keeping your teeth healthy see

Five common dental problems

GUM DISEASE AND DENTAL DECAY: THESE are related and preventable.

In their early stages, they’re even reversible.

Both are caused by plaque bacteria which releases acid that erodes tooth enamel and irritates the gums, causing gum disease.

Left for a few days, it builds up and becomes harmful.

Brushing twice a day and flossing will prevent this and reverse the damage.

Avoid high-sugar diets which accelerate the problem.

Think of it like this: You wouldn’t wash a filthy car wheel by just chucking a bucket of water over it.

Plaque and bacteria are sticky so you need to clean thoroughly.

BAD BREATH: ONE cause is poor oral hygiene.

Using interdental brushes, string floss or water floss to get rid of food and bacteria caught between teeth will help you to dispense of rotting food.

Brushing your teeth effectively is important, too, and that includes the gum line.

If your teeth are a window, the gum line is like a window sill — and you need to dust away all the plaque that gathers there.


HEALTHY gums don’t bleed.

More than 80 per cent of people have some form of gum disease, and bleeding is the first sign.

It can be anything from rever­sible gingivitis to irreversible periodontitis.

If you spot bleeding, keep cleaning in all the healthy ways described above.

Within two weeks they should be healed.

If they are not, see a dentist, or a dental therapist who can be seen without a referral.


WE all lose a bit of healthy structure as we age but there are ways to prevent gums from receding.

Don’t scrub or brush too hard as you clean.

Good oral hygiene will help stop gums being inflamed.

If they do get inflamed, fragile gum ­tissue won’t grow back, causing sensitivity in less mineralised areas.

If that happens, rub a little sensitive toothpaste into those areas and leave it on at bedtime.


BEFORE buying off-the-shelf whitening products, address the underlying problems.

Make changes to what you eat and drink.

If it stains your carpet, it stains your teeth.

So avoid tea, coffee or red wine.

Electric toothbrushes are also helpful.

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