- Have you been corona-zombified?
- How the pandemic has created a snacking boom and a dental timebomb
- Why there’s been a worrying recent surge in oral cancer cases
Have you found yourself staring into the fridge a lot recently?
It’s a habit of mine.
I go into the kitchen, open the door of the fridge and stare in for a while.
Then I close it.
That is, if I am STRONG.
Other times, I don’t close it.
I cannot close it.
The lure is too much.
Like a transfixed zombie, I reach in and grab the nearest snackable item – cheese, olives, yoghurt, hummus…
Then I turn to the cupboard…
That’s even more dangerous.
Crackers, bread, Lara’s lemon drizzle cake… CHOCOLATE.
It’s the curse of the freelancer – this ready supply of snacks at home that tempt you every time you take a break to make some tea.
Thing is, a lot of people are experiencing this now.
Since the virus, there have been millions working from home… furloughed… unemployed… or sat in all weekend because of lockdown.
And thanks to this, there’s been a rise in habitual snacking.
Research has shown that during the first lockdown people consumed 29% more convenience foods… 34% more treats… and 29% more alcohol.
This is because we crave sugary and fatty foods when we’re bored.
And when we’re at home with those foods just sitting there in our cupboards and fridges, it’s hard to resist.
Sometimes, we don’t even realise how much we’re snacking.
Aside from the obvious health issues regarding weight control, cholesterol and blood sugar…
This is also having a detrimental effect on our teeth, at a time when many dentists have been closed or offering restricted services.
Recent surveys have shown:
- A massive 55% of adults have admitted that they’ve neglected their teeth during the lockdowns.
- One in five said they didn’t brush their teeth twice a day.
- Over a third said they had experienced toothache since the first lockdown.
- Google data shows that searches for “dentist filling” have reached an all-time high.
Experts at the British Dental Association (BDA) have said that a deterioration in oral health is probably down to our lockdown diet.
Some medical experts have also claimed that wearing masks all day causes ‘mask mouth’, where bad breath is caused by a drying of your mouth, reducing saliva and increasing bacteria.
Whatever the case, British teeth are in trouble!
Now, I cannot offer anything that will replace a trip to the dentist if you are in pain or you’ve got holes in your teeth.
But if you’re simply worried about the general state of your mouth – bleeding gums, bad breath, plaque – then I recommend you try a daily natural breath freshener which also protects your teeth.
Dr Heff’s mints reduce acidity levels in your mouth by increasing saliva production, which combats bad breath and helps prevent decay.
- Provide calcium phosphate to help repair your teeth
- Strengthen the collagen structure of your dentine
- Allow remineralisation to take place, building up calcium and phosphate in your teeth
- Freshen your breath with peppermint oil
The sweetness in the mint comes from Xylitol – a naturally occurring ingredient in fruits and vegetables – so there’s no aspartame, sucralose or other dodgy artificial sweeteners.
You can find out more here: Natural tooth protection
While on this subject, there’s something even more worrying about the dental situation in the UK.
Surge in cancer cases
As reported in The Times on the 1st March, delays to care have caused a surge in oral cancer cases that would normally have been picked up earlier.
You see, although emergency dental appointments have been happening, there has been a massive drop in regular check-ups.
At first, that doesn’t seem to be a big issue – surely missing a year of basic check-ups is not a big deal?
Well for a tiny proportion of people, it could be.
Because it is often dentists who spot signs of problems in the soft tissues of the mouth.
This is how many of the 8300 diagnoses of mouth cancer are spotted every year.
So it’s important for us to get a regular check-up.
However, the backlog of appointments is enormous. People have been asked to wait for as many as TWO YEARS to see an NHS dentist.
That sounds crazy, but this is absolutely true according to a report by Healthwatch England.
Hopefully this pressure on the service will ease up soon, otherwise we could see a lot more people missing a crucial diagnosis that could save their lives.
In the meantime, if you can book something in, I’d recommend it, even if there’s a bit of a wait.
Also, while I hate to sound like a nag, make sure you keep up the dental hygiene in lockdown – it can be hard to stay disciplined in these circumstances but you don’t want to develop tooth and gum problems at times like these!
And if you want more information on a daily means of avoiding bad breath and decay, take a look at this: Dr Heff’s Mints