Do you grin at the dentist or do you hide your mouth in photos? The health of our teeth and gums impacts our entire wellbeing. But it’s easy to improve and maintain good dental health with daily care and regular dentist visits. East Yorkshire NHS and private dental services are run by City Health Care Partnership and local General Dental Practices.
You are eligible for free NHS dental treatment during pregnancy, for children up to the age of 18 (or 19 in full-time education) or if you receive certain benefits. Talk to your dentist for more information. To find a dentist, use NHS Choices or search online. Your chosen dentist will let you know if NHS treatment is available.
Brushing teeth twice daily with a good toothpaste is important, as this reduces the build-up of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. If not done properly, teeth can decay and fall out, you will be prone to gum diseases, like gingivitis which causes bleeding gums, and your breath will smell bad. Prevention is better than cure, but even if some gum diseases and bad breath sets in, simply brushing properly can reverse its effects. Tooth decay can be managed by your dentist.
Long-term, poor gum health has been linked to some general health problems too, such as faster decline in symptoms for patients with dementia if they have gum disease, and has been linked with stroke, heart disease and other illnesses. For more information, on these studies, search on NHS Choices. Tooth decay can often lead to abscesses. In some cases, this may lead to breathing difficulties if the swelling is around the throat area.
Visit your dentist regularly to help maintain a healthy mouth. Your dentist will advise you on how often you and your family should go, based on the health of your teeth and gums. During your visit, the dentist will look for signs of tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer.
To keep teeth and gums healthy, brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially last thing at night before going to bed, for at least two minutes. For best results, it is recommended to use toothpaste with 1350-1500ppm of fluoride. You can see this in the ingredients as ppm (parts per million). Always use toothpaste that is at least 1000ppm fluoride, especially for young children.
When brushing your teeth, spit out but do not rinse, as this allows the fluoride to remain in high concentrations. This will help whiten teeth and fight plaque. You can also use dental floss and mouthwash to improve dental health.
Nutrition is an easy way to maintain strong, healthy teeth. Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, and try to avoid sugared medication when possible. High concentrations of sugar can be found in lots of food, not just sweets and fizzy drinks. Always check the ingredients.
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