Oral health for adults
A guide to a healthy mouth in adults
Looking after your mouth
Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. Making sure the toothpaste contains 1350-1500 parts per million fluoride (ppm). It's important to brush before bed to allow the fluoride to protect your teeth while you sleep, and at least one other time during the day.
If you're at a higher risk of tooth decay, your dentist may recommend a toothpaste with a higher fluoride level.
Brush all surfaces of each tooth carefully and the gum line.
After brushing your teeth, spit out the toothpaste but avoid rinsing it away. This helps the fluoride to remain effective.
Make sure to replace your toothbrush regularly. This should be every one to three months or when the bristles become worn out.
Reduce the amount and number of times you have foods and drinks that contain added sugars.
It makes sense to give our oral health the best care possible. NHS England West Midlands Local Dental Network has produced this short animation. It will highlight the benefits of good oral health and dental care from birth.
What can affect mouth health?
Grazing or snacking on food and drinks high in sugar and fat can cause tooth decay and contribute to obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Smoking increases the risk of gum disease and affects the response to treatment. It can increase the chance of losing your teeth. If you would like help to stop smoking, ask your dental team, they can refer you to the local stop smoking service.
If you have diabetes and have poor sugar control this increases your risk of gum disease and makes treatment less effective.
Some medications can affect gum health and can cause dry mouth or enlarged gums. Always let your dentist know if you are on medication.
Mouth cancer - how to reduce your risk
Drinking alcohol and using tobacco increases your chances of developing mouth cancer.
Do not smoke, or use smokeless tobacco (such as paan, chewing tobacco and gutka). If you would like help to stop, information about Smoking Cessation Services in Wakefield is available here.
You are safer not to have more than 14 units of alcohol in a week to keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level
It is recommended to eat more non-starchy vegetables and fruit.
Visit the NHS 'One You' page here for more information on what you can do to become or stay healthy.
Visiting a dentist
Regular dental check-ups are essential for maintaining good oral health, even if you have no teeth or visible mouth issues. This allows you and your dentist to ensure the health of your mouth, teeth, and gums. Your dentist will recommend the appropriate frequency for check-ups.
Pregnant women are eligible for free NHS dental treatment. This includes treatment started before their child's first birthday.