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Your Smile is Your Business Card

Last year, having neglected oral hygiene for the best part of my 37 years prior, I must have shelled out over 3k in dental care to save myself from a multitude of extractions. "This is the year 2016, you're not having teeth pulled." Would be my girlfriend's mantra, who helped finance various 'rescue packages' to save my soup cooler from looking like a warning picture on a pack of Bensons. I appreciate not everyone is lucky enough to be in that position financially and therefore I echo Malcom Gladwell (writer from the New Yorker) who recently highlighted that teeth are becoming the new benchmark for inequality. However, not being in the top echelons of high earners is a poor excuse for poor oral hygiene.

"Fundamentally it’s education," says Dr. Saul Konviser, one of the senior general dentists at Dawood & Tanner General Dental Practice. “We’re of a generation that’s lived-in fear of going to the dentists, we need to break that cycle and stop imposing our own anxieties onto our children. I also feel that dental care is the one area that gets completely overlooked when talking about men’s fashion, grooming and holistic self-care in general. We talk about clothing, diet, exercise, grooming but not about one’s smile.”

The Montagu Mansions Dental Practice
The Montagu Mansions Dental Practice

Dawood and Tanner are one of London's leading Specialist Dental Practices, renowned for their Dental Implant and Restorative Treatments. They have recently had The Montagu Mansions Dental Practice join their portfolio. "Everything stems from your smile. It’s an energy, smiling plays a huge role on how people perceive you and if your confidence has been so diminished by the quality, or lack of teeth, then it will affect how you communicate with people on a day-to-day basis."

I had my teeth and gums ex-rayed and minutely inspected twice by two different Doctors at Dawood & Tanner. One of the dental therapist and hygienists described how her older brothers had neglected their teeth purely because they’d left home. That’s right, Mum’s not around anymore to make the appointments, something I can personally attest to. Dental hygiene becomes a frippery, and only gets addressed when pain is present. After Dr Saul Konviser probed and prodded in my grill, it was my turn to grill him on some mythical preconceptions with regards to dental hygiene.

1. Brush your teeth before breakfast 

It’s ideally always better to brush after breakfast to remove the food debris from our teeth and have a fresh mouth to start the day with, however the ideal is to wait 30 minutes especially if we know we will be having a highly acidic breakfast that can weaken our teeth, but unfortunately nobody has time to wait that long these days. So, try to get into the habit of at least having a good rinse straight after eating, to remove those dietary acids and sugars. A fluoride based mouthwash is ideal but not always practical so even just still water with our meal can help flush the acids away. 

2. Don’t snack all day

As adamant as Dr Saul Konviser is not to be seen as anti-fruit, snacking endlessly on grapes and citrusy fruits all day between meals can be detrimental. The acidity of these types of foods will be attacking your teeth’s enamel and they can’t be subjected to sugary treats, the abrasiveness of nuts or the acidity of certain fruits on a constant basis.

3. Listen to the Missus 

She’s likely to be the one telling you that you’re grinding your teeth, especially at night. Grinding can cause augmented wear and thinning of the teeth that can be prevented with a few consultations. 

4. Employ the Bass Technique 

A method for brushing your teeth which involves head angulation. Particularly if you’re using an electric toothbrush start half way up from the gum line and press on the tooth (not brush) for five seconds before moving onto the next. A decent electronic toothbrush will tell you if you’re pressing too hard.

5. Smokers, don’t over brush 

Perhaps this should read ‘don’t smoke’ as it’s one of the biggest proponents for gum disease and oral cancer. But if you do have to smoke, don’t over compensate and brush too hard. This can lead to a recession of the gum line and an opening for sensitivity, decay and bacteria.

Peter Brooker

Peter is a published author on men's style, writer for the Metro Online, a huge James Bond fanatic and the host of our very own MenswearStyle podcast show.

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