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Dr Alex George on the Importance of Oral Health | Interview

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Dr Alex George on the Importance of Oral Health | Interview

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Oral health plays a big part in our overall well-being, and yet it’s something that’s often overlooked or not considered to be a priority. Dr Alex George hopes to change that and push conversations about all types of health to the forefront of our minds, through his new partnership with Colgate Total. The Happy Habits campaign aims to help people reprioritise their oral health, and in turn, feel happier and healthier overall. We caught up with Dr George to talk about his involvement in the campaign, the stigma surrounding mental health conversations, and how he hopes to make a change.

POPSUGAR: Why was partnering with Colgate important to you in 2022?
Alex George: Looking after our health, both physical and mental, is so important, and it’s something I’m a big advocate of. Many of us don’t realise that there’s a link between oral health and overall health; issues such as gum problems have been connected to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and even dementia. Due to the pandemic many of us let our oral health slip, so I wanted to be part of the Happy Habits campaign to help spread awareness of why we should be prioritising looking after our mouths.

PS: What positive messages do you think Colgate is conveying when it comes to oral health?
AG: One of the key things that Colgate Total wants to educate consumers on is why we should be looking after our whole mouth; that’s the teeth, tongue, cheeks, and gums. Bacteria lives on all surfaces of the mouth, but interestingly the majority of toothpastes just contain fluoride, which only looks after the teeth. Colgate Total uses a dual zinc and arginine formula, together with fluoride, which looks after the whole mouth.

PS: Have you seen a rise in people taking more care of their oral health in the last few months?
AG: Unfortunately, it’s the opposite — about one in three of us have actually let our oral health slip over the last two years. There are a few factors that have led to this, like a lack of routine during lockdown periods meaning we forgot to brush our teeth, not being able to access the dentist, and other health issues taking more of a priority. The most recent Happy Habits campaign is encouraging people to reprioritise their oral health this year. I’ve also had a really insightful interview with a leading London dentist, Dr Monik Vasant, looking at things like why we should brush before breakfast and what happens if we don’t brush for two minutes twice a day.

PS: Why do you think oral health is easier to talk about than mental health?
AG: Unfortunately, there’s still a huge stigma linked to mental health and perhaps admitting that you’re struggling. If you had a toothache that was causing you discomfort, you’d go to the dentist, but we don’t apply that to our mental health, which means that lots of people suffer in silence.

PS: How do you think we could change that?
AG: I think we just need to continue making safe spaces where people feel comfortable opening up about any challenges they’re facing. Sometimes, a simple conversation will help us get the support we need, and the more we talk about mental health, the easier it becomes, and the more accepted it’ll be.

PS: After coming out of Love Island and having that experience, how important was it for you to use your platform to kick-start conversations surrounding mental health?
AG: As a doctor I’ve always been passionate about mental health and feel that it’s something we as a nation do avoid talking about. We all have mental health and yet people often feel so ashamed about something so normal. It’s therefore only right for me to use my personal and professional experience, as well as my platform, to destigmatise the issue.

PS: What else have you got planned for the year ahead?
AG: I’ll be campaigning to get early support hubs into every community so that young people have a place to go when they need help or support, or simply just access to someone to talk to. I want to continue to use my platform to fight for the causes that matter to young people, and I’ve also just launched a brand-new radio show on Classic FM called Inner Harmony. The show combines two passions of mine — music and health — and shows people just how intertwined the two can be. Over the next six weeks, I plan to focus on different areas of health and sharing top tips for a healthy and happy 2022. And there’s plenty more mental health and well-being projects to come too!

Image Source: Colgate



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