You probably remember that toothache you had in school or work and how the pain distracted you from your tasks. It’s safe to assume that that toothache was likely due to your overconsumption of sweets, or not brushing often, or not visiting the dentist.

Poor oral health negatively affects employee productivity. In fact, it costs employers more than $6 billion in lost productivity every year because employees don’t show up for work to get dental care. Further studies have found that gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even osteoporosis. Since your oral health affects your job, why not go beyond your usual dental routines? Take extra steps to maintain oral health while you’re at work or in school.

Bring an Oral Hygiene Kit

Taking care of your oral health doesn’t have to stop at home. One of the few ways you can improve your smile at work is to bring an oral hygiene kit. This kit should contain toothcare essentials such as toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss. Make it a habit to brush and floss your teeth after lunch. If you want your breath to remain fresh throughout the day, add mouthwash to your routine.

Apart from the benefit of cleaner teeth, some people find that brushing their teeth during the daily lull (2 PM) can help them stay attentive. Think of it as a healthier alternative to the mid-afternoon smoke or coffee.

Eat Healthier Snacks

employees eating healthy food at work

Everybody loves a good snack while working on something. Most popular snack foods like potato chips and chocolate, however, are bad for your oral health if consumed often. It’s common knowledge that sugary foods are bad for your teeth, but most people don’t really care about how the food they eat may improve or ruin their smile.

Try snacking on cheese, yogurt, and apples for healthier teeth. Salads with leafy green vegetables and carrots are also great. Hover Dental Group says that eating nuts and seeds high in Omega 3 — like walnuts and chia seeds — helps maintain the health of your gums.

Drink Coffee in Moderation

Coffee is a staple in workplaces, as people claim that it helps them stay alert. If you’re one of the 64% of people who drink coffee every day, you might want to regulate your consumption for better oral health. Too much coffee and tea can dry your mouth and stain your teeth.

Recent studies have shown that tea is actually good for oral health despite their caffeine content. Black and green tea help fight bacteria that cause bad breath, plaque, tooth decay, and gum diseases. If you need to stay awake for productivity, have a cup of tea instead of coffee.

If you want to stick to drinking coffee, there are simple ways to remedy its effect on your teeth. The best solution to staining is brushing your teeth. You can also use a straw to prevent iced coffee from staining your crowns. Drinking water after helps in rehydrating your mouth for fresher breath.

Better oral health comes with sacrifices. You’ll have to dedicate a part of your break time to brushing and flossing. Coffee isn’t easy to give up, especially if you rely on it for productivity. And you might have to replace your favorite bag of chips with nuts. But these little changes in your daily work habits can mean better health not only for your mouth but also your whole body.