What is it?
Keeping your teeth and gums clean, healthy and free from infection. Good oral hygiene will prevent dental decay and periodontal disease and is essential for preserving gums and the bone which keeps your teeth secure in your mouth.
If you smoke you are much more likely to get periodontal problems. You are urged in the strongest terms to stop smoking. If you continue to smoke you are more likely to lose your teeth. Your doctor can prescribe medicine to help you give up smoking.
How do you do it?
Consider a powered brush (the dentist or hygienist can advise on models) OR Choose a manual toothbrush which:
- Has a head size that feels comfortable and allows you to reach the back teeth
- Has nylon bristles (natural bristles allow the growth of bacteria)
- You should only use a soft or medium toothbrush
- Children up to 10 years old need an adult to brush their teeth for them every day
For you to brush your child’s teeth you will need a brush with a small head and large handle.
- Brush using circular movements on each tooth, both inside and outside of the teeth and the area where the tooth meets the gum.
- Brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth using a horizontal action.
- Use dental floss and/or interdental brushes at least once a day to remove dental plaque and to clean between teeth.
- Fluoride – to fight tooth decay.
- Antibacterial agent – to fight dental plaque and to protect from gum disease.
- Other ingredients – according to your specific dental problems (sensitivity etc)
- Children – use only toothpaste specifically made for them. (Remember only to use as much toothpaste as cover the child’s little fingernail – no more).
- Do not use any other fluoride on children, other than the toothpaste unless instructed to do so by your dentist.
- Children over the age of six can use adult toothpaste.
If gums bleed, it is an indication that you need dental care.
If you have periodontal problems then you can be referred for a series of two consecutive appointments with the hygienist on the NHS as part of your course of treatment.