Taking good care of your teeth and gums on a daily basis is an important step in reducing the risk of future dental problems.
Here are the key things you can do each day to keep your teeth and gums healthy:
- Brush your teeth at least twice per day (in the morning and before bed) using a toothbrush with soft, rounded bristles. This should take around two minutes.
- Floss between your teeth daily.
- Change your toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3 months.
- Avoid soft drinks, including the diet variety, as their acidic effect can wear away the enamel on the surface of your teeth. If you choose to drink them, use a straw
- Avoid snacking frequently over the day – a break of at least two hours between eating or drinking allows your saliva to neutralise acids in the mouth.
- If you do snack, choose fruit, yoghurt, cheese, and raw vegetables in place of lollies, cakes, and biscuits.
- Avoid sucking on lollies, nibbling foods or sipping sweet drinks over long periods of time.
- Drink plenty of water, particularly after eating.
- Chew sugar-free gum after meals to increase saliva production which protects against tooth decay.
- Don’t smoke.
In addition to self-care, it’s important to have regular check-ups with your dentist. How often you need a check-up depends on a number of factors including your age, dental history, and general health but your dentist will be able to advise you.
You should also see your dentist if you have any of the following:
- Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
- Red, swollen or painful gums
- Receding gums (i.e. gums that have pulled away from the teeth)
- Loose teeth
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth that won’t go away
- A change in your bite or jaw alignment, or in the fit of your dentures
For more information:
For more information on dental health for babies through to older adults, visit The Australian Dental Association