How daily habits affect oral health

Making some changes to your daily lifestyle can greatly reduce your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and even oral cancers

The one thing that none of us can avoid is that we have to live our daily lives in a way that sustains us both physically and mentally.

Because of this, we make a lot of choices in our life that affect not only our general health but our oral health too.

Many of these choices become habits that have been with us since we were very young, often instigated by our parents; others may have been formed during our teenage years.

While we can’t turn back the clocks, it is a good idea, from time to time, to take stock of where we are in life and what we are doing. We often think of making major changes when we consider this, such as starting a new career or moving to a new location. Changes don’t have to be this big though and your teeth and gums can certainly benefit from some small changes that you can make in your life.

What changes should I make?

This will depend on what you do of course but few of us aren’t in the position to make at least some changes that would be beneficial. Our Ipswich dental hygienist is someone who often discusses this with their patients as part of their treatment plan. Here are some of the most common areas for improvement that they come across during conversations.


Far too few people floss their teeth. With only around one in five of us doing so in the UK, there is a good chance that you are one of them. Flossing between the teeth helps to remove food and bacteria that can become trapped between them and potentially lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Flossing isn’t difficult with a bit of practice and is of great benefit so this is one thing that is easy to implement and is very beneficial.

There are probably areas where you can improve your teeth cleaning regimen too. The best way to discover how is to see the hygienist for a consultation and they will be able to guide you towards appropriate improvements specifically for you.


Thankfully, the message about smoking has got home to most people. There can be very few now who aren’t aware of how dangerous this once all too common habit is. Lung cancer and heart problems are amongst the most serious health issues linked to it, but it can also have a massively negative effect on the health of your mouth. Infections are less easily fought off and gum disease is far more likely than in a non smoker.

Perhaps the most significant issue though is oral cancer. This can be devastating and life changing or even life ending in some cases. At somewhere in the region of £10 for a packet of twenty, this is both a dangerous and expensive habit. If you do just one thing mentioned in today’s Foxhall Dental Practice blog, make sure that stopping smoking is it. There are plenty of methods to help you stop smoking that are available now and your GP should be able to help you quit.


Alcohol can be enjoyed moderately and most of us like to have a drink from time to time. Excessive or regular consumption of alcohol though can have a similar effect to smoking. Make sure to moderate your alcohol intake and drink plenty of water to prevent your mouth from becoming dry as this is a sure invitation to potentially harmful oral bacteria to start to rapidly multiply.

Sugar consumption

For years, dentists have been telling their patients how bad sugar is for their teeth. The fact remains that it still is, though most of us will still consume it. Back in the day, the source of sugar was well known; for example, sweets, cakes etc. This is still the case but there are now many places where the amount of sugar consumed is underestimated. ‘Energy’ drinks and ready meals are amongst the places where sugar levels can be very high. Even your morning ‘special coffee’ at well known coffee shops can contain up to 15 teaspoons of sugar that can remain on your teeth the whole day. Try to be vigilant about what you eat and opt for lower sugar versions where possible.


Breakfast, dinner and tea, or breakfast, lunch and dinner depending on what part of the country you come from, used to be the standard diet, perhaps with the very occasional treat in between. Nowadays, people snack far more frequently, often in addition to their main meals. Not only has this contributed to the rise in obesity in the UK but also means that our mouths no longer have the opportunity to flush away, with saliva, the sugars and food that we have eaten, before the next lot comes along. The short time in between snacks may also often mean that our tooth enamel, which softens for a short period of time after we have eaten, won’t have time to harden fully before we eat again. This can lead to premature wearing of the enamel, increasing the risk of tooth decay and sensitive teeth.


We briefly mentioned this earlier but try replacing at least some of your daily fluid intake with water. It is free (from the tap) and is far better for your teeth than sugary drinks. Drinking water regularly will help to flush away food debris and also reduce the risk of gum disease. In particular, make sure you are well hydrated when you go to bed at night.

And finally….

If you hadn’t already guessed it; make sure to see your Ipswich dentist and hygienists every six months or so. An improved daily routine, along with professional supervision will give you an all round oral care regimen that means you have every chance of having a healthy mouth throughout your life.

To make your appointment to see us, please call the Foxhall Dental Practice today on 01473 258396.

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