Fact Sheet Taking care of your teeth Why is this good for my health? • Good oral health includes things like brushing your teeth, watching what you eat and drink, and having regular dentist checkups. These are vital for general health and wellbeing. • Looking after your teeth and gums may also help to protect you from more serious health conditions including heart disease, strokes and bowel cancer. Why else would I want to do this? • A healthy mouth, teeth and gums enables us to eat, speak and to smile with confidence! How can I make a start? • Cut down on sugary and acidic drinks: Try to swap fizzy drinks (including diet versions), smoothies, diluting and fresh fruit juices for milk and water, which are better for teeth. If you do have sugary or fizzy drinks, try to dilute juice well and limit to mealtimes only. Using a straw also means sugary drinks have less contact with teeth. Remember that acidic beverages also include alcopops, cider and wine. • Eat healthier snacks: Instead of snacking on sugary foods which can damage teeth, try tooth-friendly snacks between meals: fruit, veggie sticks, oatcakes or toast are some suggestions. Limit sugary foods to mealtimes only. • Brush brush brush! Brush in the morning and before going to bed, with a brush small enough to reach all areas of your mouth easily. Ensure the bristles are soft to medium to prevent damaging your gums, and change your toothbrush at least every 3 months or when the bristles show signs of wear. Version No: 01 CGD140819 • Use a pea sized amount of fluoride Toothpaste: Use toothpaste that is at least 1000ppm of Fluoride. For children under 2 years, just a smear of toothpaste is enough. • Use a Circular Brushing Motion: Brush in small circles along the gum line (where your teeth meet your gums) and gently scrub the top surfaces, making sure you cover all the teeth. • Brush for 2 Minutes: to ensure that all the surfaces are clean. Supervised brushing is recommended for children under 8. • Spit Don’t Rinse: Once you’ve finished brushing, spit out your toothpaste but do not rinse your mouth afterwards! Toothpaste contains fluoride which helps to strengthen and protect teeth and this works best if it isn’t rinsed away after brushing. • Visit Your Dentist Regularly: Register with a dentist and have regular check-ups to keep your teeth healthy, so that you need fewer or no treatments. Who else can help? • You can get information on how to find a dentist by contacting the Dental Information and Advice Line on 0845 45 65 990 between 8.05am and 5.45pm, Monday to Friday or by visiting Teeth TLC website www.teethtlc.com. • Teeth TLC: www.teethtlc.com . Oral health information and resources with specific sections for individuals, parents and carers, professionals, nurseries, schools, workplaces and help to find a dentist. • British Dental Health Foundation: www.dentalhealth.org.
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