World Oral Health Day

11 steps to a healthy mouth (plus 5 food and drink dos and don’ts)

Today, 20th March, is World Oral Health Day. Whatever our age, if we look after our teeth they will last longer, we will be healthier and we will need fewer trips to the dentist.

Our oral health experts give their 11 top tips for effective tooth brushing, plus 5 food and drink dos and don’ts:

Brushing your teeth – 11 steps to healthy a healthy mouth

  • Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day. Always last thing at night and then at one other time during the day (lots of people choose first thing in the morning – this should be before breakfast).
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste. You only need to use a small amount of toothpaste, about the size of a pea.
  • Adults and children over three years old should use a toothpaste with a fluoride level of 1350ppm to 1500ppm (parts per million). This will be printed in tiny numbers on both the box and the tube.
  • Use a toothbrush with a small head.
  • Spit, don’t rinse! Do not send the fluoride down the plughole!
  • Brush teeth in a special order: and make sure you get all five surfaces of each tooth (biting/chewing surface, front, back, inside and outside)
  • Be gentle! Use circular or tiny side to side movements – don’t scrub gums away
  • Brush the gums where they meet the teeth gently using the same circular or tiny side to side movement
  • A disclosing tablet may help to show any areas you might have missed. These contain a vegetable dye which will show up any plaque you have missed when brushing.
  • Replace your toothbrush/brush head regularly. A three-month old toothbrush or brush head is 30 per cent less effective at removing plaque than a new one
  • If using a powered toothbrush make sure it is charged or change the batteries regularly so the brush remains effective.

Food and drink – 5 dos and don’ts

  • Try to limit the amount of sugary and acidic foods and drinks you consume. Sugary drinks and snacks between meals will harm teeth.
  • Between meals try tooth-friendly snacks like cheese, fruit and vegetable sticks, breadsticks, Marmite or butter on toast, rice cakes, or a bowl of non-sugary cereal with milk (don’t add sugar or honey!)
  • Limit dried fruit between meals as it is high in sugar and can stick to teeth
  • Do not consume sugary foods or drinks just before bed, and only drink water
  • Keep sweets, cakes, fizzy drinks and other “treats” for pudding or as part of a meal