If you do want to know how to keep your teeth healthy, then this section is here to help lead you in the right direction. This page is your starting point from which you will find lots of pages full of professional tips and advice.
There are a lot of questions you may have, for example:
- What is the best toothbrush, toothpaste or mouthwash?
- Should I use an electric toothbrush?
- What foods are harmful to my teeth?
- How should I look after my child’s teeth?
- How do I floss my teeth properly?
- How often do I need to visit my dentist?
These common questions will be answered for you on the relevant pages.
How to Ensure Dental Health
Prevention of dental problems is far more desirable than cure. Once your teeth or gums have been damaged, they can usually be repaired to some extent with dental treatment. However the teeth and gums will never be as strong as they would have been if kept healthy.
There are several things you need to do to ensure healthy teeth for life. These are:
- A daily oral hygiene routine including brushing with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between the teeth. For thorough brushing, spend two minutes twice daily.
- A tooth-kind diet with limited snacking.
- Regular check-ups with a dentist.
- Regular professional cleanings.
There a variety of oral hygiene products available for you to use at home. Ask your dentist/hygienist for advice on what you should use.
Toothpaste- make sure there is fluoride in the toothpaste you use. ‘Total-care’ toothpastes contain several different ingredients for a range of benefits to the teeth and gums. There are also specialized toothpastes to help with specific problems such as sensitivity, tartar build-up and staining.
Toothbrushes– use a toothbrush with a small-to-medium sized head and soft/medium bristle strength. Electric toothbrushes may make cleaning easier and improve plaque control. Replace the toothbrush/head at least every 3 months.
Mouthwashes– can help improve the health of your teeth and gums. There are several circumstances where they are important, including gum disease, high levels of decay and inability to clean the teeth properly. Mouthwashes are not a replacement for brushing.
To clean between the teeth, use floss, tape or inter-dental brushes. New technology like water jets may be of benefit. It is very important to clean between the teeth, otherwise there are large areas of the mouth at risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Ask your dentist/hygienist for advice.
Diet and oral health
In order to reduce the risks of tooth decay and dental erosion, your diet is equally as important as your oral hygiene! If your diet is very poor, ‘dentally’ speaking, then you are at high risk of decay, even if you are brushing your teeth. Key points with regards to your diet and your teeth:
- Cut down on the frequency of sugary snacks and drinks. Look out for acids in your diet and reduce these.
- Chew sugar-free gum after eating. This increases saliva, which naturally cleans the teeth. Sugar-free gum also helps neutralize plaque acids.
- Fizzy drinks should be chilled and taken through a straw to reduce damage to the teeth.
There is a lot more advice in the section on your diet and your health.
Why Visit the Dentist Regularly
Regular visits to your dentist are a vital part of looking after your teeth in the long term. Usually this involves visits twice a year, although your dentist may advise you differently depending on your own needs.
Your dentist will check your whole mouth including your teeth and gums and look for signs of common oral diseases including:
The earlier any problems are found, the easier they generally are to fix. With dental decay and gum disease you may not be aware you have any problem until a lot of damage has been done. If problems are found late, it may be impossible for the dentist to do anything.
Your dentist will also give you personalized, specific advice in terms of looking after your teeth and preventing problems in the long term.
A few important articles you may wish to read after this advice on how to keep teeth healthy:
How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy: Summary
If you want to know how to keep teeth healthy and gums strong, follow these guidelines:
- Brush your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste, brushing using a careful technique.
- Use a toothbrush with a small to medium size of head and soft/medium strength of bristles.
- Clean between the teeth every day.
- Stick to a tooth-kind diet, keeping sugary snacks/drinks to a minimum.
- Visit your dentist as often as they recommend.