Whether for religious or purely personal reasons, Lent for many is both a time of reflection as well as a time of year in which we traditionally abstain from something for a month, often with a view to improving our health in the process.

And given our tendency to overindulge over Christmas, sweet snacks are often top of the list of things to give up. With a little strategic planning, you can use Lent to make some simple changes to your habits that will not just help your health in general, but will also benefit your teeth and gums.


One of the most popular foods to abstain from in Lent is chocolate. When it comes to your teeth, there is absolutely no doubt that the majority of chocolates, given their high sugar content, are better off avoided. If you find yourself getting your sugar hit from chocolate, why not see if you can do a month without?


It goes without say that sweets are another great choice for your annual period of abstinence. Sticky, sugary sweets tend to leave residue in the harder to reach gaps in your teeth, causing high levels of acid build-up which can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums and lead to no end of problems, especially tooth decay.


Miss dry January? Lent may be another chance to avoid alcoholic drinks for a few weeks. Most alcoholic drinks directly cause dental decay and some can even stain your teeth. While also helping you reap the financial benefits you might even save some brain cells !


Of course, it’s not just food that people chose to abstain from. For many, Lent is a great time to have a go at giving up smoking. Aside from the well-documented benefits to your overall health that stopping smoking offers, there are also tremendous benefits for your teeth and gums. Not only do the chemicals present in cigarette smoke cause harm and staining to the teeth, the reduction in oxygenated blood in circulation also means that it can take significantly longer for your gums to heal after dental surgery and reduce the effectiveness of some treatments. Stop smoking in March and it may be possible to quit completely.