How to keep your Teeth and Gums Healthy

How to keep your Teeth and Gums Healthy
What about acidic foods?
Fruit such as oranges and lemons also
contain acids, which can dissolve your
teeth if you eat a large amount every day.
What can I drink between meals?
Plain still water and milk are best for your
teeth.
What else can I do to keep my teeth
healthy?
•
•
Brush your teeth for 2 minutes at
least twice each day.
•
Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride
toothpaste.
PATIENT INFORMATION LEAFLET
HOW TO KEEP YOUR
TEETH AND GUMS
HEALTHY
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What can I eat between meals?
Sugar free or low sugar foods are best.
Suggestions include bread, cheese
sandwiches, vegetables, nuts or fruit.
•
REMEMBER
Use dental floss or an interdental
brush each day to remove plaque from
between the teeth.
Using a fluoride alcohol-free mouth
rinse can help reduce plaque,
strengthen teeth and freshen breath.
•
Visit your dentist regularly to check
that your teeth and gums are healthy.
•
Chewing sugar-free gum after meals
reduces the risk of tooth decay.
Can smoking and drinking alcohol
affect my teeth and gums?
Smoking causes tooth staining, bad breath,
gum disease, tooth loss and mouth cancer.
Some alcoholic drinks are acidic and very
sugary, also some mixer drinks contain
acid, so these drinks can cause tooth
decay or erosion if they are consumed
often in large amounts.
•
Replace your toothbrush regularly.
•
Eat a balanced, healthy diet and cut
down on fizzy and acidic drinks.
•
Avoid sugary foods and drinks
between meals.
•
Visit your dentist regularly.
Any further questions? Please ask your
dentist, orthodontist or hygienist.
Further information:British Dental Health Foundation
www.dentalhealth.org.uk
NHS Oral Health Specialist Library
www.library.nhs.uk/oralhealth/
Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programme
www.BetterOralHealth.info
This leaflet has been produced with guidance from the Plain English Campaign
and British Dyslexia Association to make it easier for you to read
Copyright © BOS 2009
British Orthodontic Society 12 Bridewell Place London EC4V 6AP
BRITISH ORTHODONTIC SOCIETY
Registered Charity No 1073464 www.bos.org.uk
Keeping your mouth healthy is very
important. By looking after your teeth
and gums you can avoid tooth decay
and gum disease.
•
You should avoid sugary foods and
drinks between meals.
•
You should cut down on fizzy and
acidic drinks.
What is tooth decay?
When you eat or drink something sugary,
the bacteria in your mouth produce acid.
This acid can make holes in your teeth
(tooth decay).
How should I brush my teeth and
gums?
•
Brush your teeth for two minutes in the
morning and for two minutes at
bedtime.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by bacteria that
stick to your teeth when you do not clean
them properly. Dentists call this layer of
bacteria PLAQUE. If you leave plaque
on your teeth, your gums will become
red, swollen, sore and may bleed when
you brush them. You may have bad
breath. If gum disease is not treated
the teeth will become loose and may
eventually fall out.
•
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Use a toothpaste containing fluoride.
Is an electric tooth brush better?
Using an electric toothbrush can be fun,
but it will only work well if you use it
properly. It is not a magic wand! Use the
type of brush that works best for you.
Why should I avoid sugary foods and
drinks between meals?
Every time you eat or drink something
sugary, the bacteria in your mouth will
produce acid. Acid attacks can last for up
to an hour after eating or drinking.
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Choose a toothbrush with a small head
to help reach every part of your mouth.
Brush every surface of every tooth.
Make sure the bristles reach the part of
the tooth where it joins the gum.
This is where plaque collects.
•
Move the toothbrush in small gentle
circular or scrubbing movements.
•
Dental floss or inter-dental brushes
may be helpful to clean in between
your teeth. Your dentist or hygienist can
show you how to use them properly.
The more often you eat or drink
something sugary, the more likely you are
to cause tooth decay. Try to cut down the
number of times you have sugary foods
or drinks by keeping these to mealtimes.
Avoid sugary snacks like cakes, sweets
and biscuits between meals. Avoid sugary
drinks like fruit squashes, natural fruit
juices and milk shakes between meals.
Why are fizzy and acidic drinks bad
for my teeth?
Fruit juices, sports drinks and fizzy drinks
(even sugar-free ones) contain acids.
These acids can dissolve the outer
surface of the teeth (enamel). This is
called erosion. The teeth become thinner
and are more likely to chip. They may
also become sensitive.
Photo of patient with gum disease
How should I keep my mouth healthy?
•
You should keep your teeth and gums
clean. Good brushing is very important.
•
You can use disclosing tablets which
contain a harmless dye to stain plaque,
making it easier to see for removal.
The more often you drink fizzy or acidic
drinks, the more likely you are to damage
your teeth.
So cut down on fizzy and acidic drinks.
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