Health & Beauty

Scare Off Poor Oral Health This Halloween With Crest

October 30, 2017

With Halloween (tonight!) kicking off the most indulgent time of year, we’re highly conscious of the fact that the sweets and treats ahead can take a toll on our pearly whites, causing enamel erosion that weakens teeth, making them more sensitive and dimming our white smile.

What’s really scary? A recent survey commissioned by Crest found that 30 per cent of Canadians report being too tired to brush their teeth at night—which is when most of us will be digging in on the 31st. Add to that the fact that a quarter of us agree brushing our teeth once a day is enough (not to mention the 24 per cent of males who admitted to brushing their teeth for less than a minute at a time), and we’ve got a truly frightening situation on our hands.

Luckily, Toronto-based dentist Dr. Janet Tamo—a Crest and Oral-B Smile Council expert, to boot—can help. Read our revealing Q&A with Dr. Tamo below (some of her how-to-brush tips will get you a great smile and great thighs!), and make this Halloween both happy and healthy for your teeth! —Noa Nichol

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Why do you think so many of us only brush once a day?

People’s lives are very busy, there’s no denying that. We barely have time to make it through our workday, get home, get dinner going, maybe get a quick workout in … before we know it, it’s bedtime and we’re just too tired—or lazy—to brush our teeth. When we’re living such full and busy lives, it can be tempting to try and skip things that we don’t perceive as important. Unfortunately, this is the possibly the worst time to skip brushing, as the food we’ve eaten throughout the day will really go to work damaging our teeth at night.

Once and for all, how long should each brushing session last?

At least two minutes. We have 32 teeth—28 for those who have had their wisdom teeth out—and we need to attend to each and every one of them, which takes time. I once had a patient, a little boy, who related it to washing his dad’s car. He said, “I have to make sure I clean the fenders, too.” I particularly love electric toothbrushes that have built-in timers. The Oral-B Genius 8000 includes this and many other smart features, which is great. And remember, as long as you’ve got the right technique and are using a soft or sensitive toothbrush, you can’t brush your teeth too long or too often.

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What can not brushing often enough or well enough mean for our health?

Compromised oral health is compromised overall health, period. You’re not completely healthy until your mouth is healthy, too. For example, a big health buzzword these days is inflammation—it’s something many of us are concerned with, something to be avoided at all costs. Well, inflammation in the mouth will spread to more vital parts of the body. We tend to forget: the mouth is the upper end of the digestive tract, and thus very well connected to the rest of our systems. It’s vitally important to keep it clean and healthy.

Is Halloween really a frightening time for teeth, or is just one day of extra sugary indulgence not going to make a difference to our oral health?

You’re never going to be able to do a lot of damage in just one day if you remain diligent the rest of the year. When it comes to Halloween in particular, just be sure not to extend the holiday to two days or a week or month. Eat the candy you’re going to eat tonight, and get rid of the rest. Kids should definitely not be waking up to candy the morning after Halloween.

Speaking of the morning after, November 1 is National Brush Your Teeth Day in the U.S. Do we have something similar in Canada?

We do! Canada celebrates Oral Health Month in April and World Oral Health Day in March, but I think it’s equally brilliant to make the day after Halloween a day about awareness around brushing our teeth and maintaining good oral hygiene. We also have great resources in Canada that are available year-round. Check out Crest Canada’s website for tips and advice for healthy, beautiful smiles.

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Finally, as a dental professional, what are your top three out-of-the-box tips for keeping our teeth healthy—on Halloween and beyond?

> We all seem obsessed with lemon water these days but, the truth is, next to sugar, there’s nearly nothing worse for your teeth than the kind of acid that comes from citrus fruits. Try adding cucumber slices to your water, instead.
> Families that brush—and floss—together, stay oral healthy together. Pick a time, every morning and night, to brush as a family. Just don’t use the same toothbrush!
> For people who are health-conscious but super-busy, I recommend putting a tooth-care kit stocked with a soft-bristled toothbrush, a comfortable floss and a tube of new-and-improved Crest Pro-Health Clean Mint Toothpaste (SRP 70ml $2.99 and 130ml $4.96), which now includes a new uniquely formulated ActiveStrength technology for a tastier and smoother brushing experience with foaming action for an invigorating, whole-mouth clean feeling, in your gym bag and using it as soon as you’re finished your workout. You can even try doing squats for two minutes while you brush your teeth for great thighs and a great smile!


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