Oral health for adults

A guide to a healthy mouth in adults

Looking after your mouth

Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste containing 1350 – 1500 parts per million fluoride (ppm) fluoride. Brush last thing at night, so that the fluoride continues to protect the teeth while you sleep, and on at least on one other occasion.

Your dentist may prescribe toothpaste with a higher fluoride level if you are at particular risk of tooth decay.

Brush all surfaces of each tooth carefully and the gum line.

Spit out after brushing but do not rinse away the toothpaste as this reduces the effectiveness of the fluoride.

Replace your toothbrush regularly, every one to three months or when the bristles are worn.

Reduce the amount and number of times you have foods and drinks that contain added sugars.


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?

Tips on how to change your choice of snacks to help protect your teeth.

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 gutkha). 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. 

More information on what you can do to become or stay healthy.

Visiting a dentist

It is important to see a dentist regularly for check-ups even if you have no teeth, or are free from any apparent problems with your mouth or teeth, as this helps you and your dentist to keep your mouth, teeth and gums in good health. Your dentist will advise you on how often you need a check-up.

Women are entitled to free NHS dental treatment during pregnancy and any treatment started before their child's first birthday.

More information on how to find an NHS dentist in your area.

More information on NHS dental charges and who can get free dental treatment or help with dental costs.

Useful websites

Information on how to make changes to become healthier 

Information on eating healthier foods 

Yorkshire Smokefree Wakefield 

Understanding NHS dental charges 

Find a dentist in your area 

Contact us

Public Health

Wakefield Council
Wakefield One
PO Box 700

0345 8 506 506