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Looking after your teeth

Tooth decay is avoidable, Here is some advice for you.

The first step is making sure you are registered with a dentist. NHS dentists are available locally, just visit the NHS Choices website. You need to see your dentist every year, or as often as they recommend.

Doing the following will help make sure your teeth are well looked after and last well into your later life.

Brushing

Brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes and always before you go to bed. Spit but don’t rinse afterwards as the fluoride in the toothpaste will help your teeth.

Clean between your teeth with ‘interdental’ brushes or floss at least once a day as this removes food and plaque from between your teeth. If you want, you can use a fluoride mouthwash between meals for extra protection.

Eating

Eat healthy foods and limit sugary food and drinks with a meal. Still water and milk are best to drink between meals.

Wait for 30 minutes after eating or drinking anything with acid in before you brush your teeth. You can also chew a sugar-free gum after eating as this will make more saliva which will cancel out the acids that form in your mouth after eating.

Smoking

Smoking can cause tooth staining, gum disease, tooth loss and more seriously, mouth cancer. Smoking is also one of the main causes of bad breath.

Alcohol

Alcoholic drinks increase the risk of tooth decay as most of them contain lots of sugar. Regularly drinking alcohol every day can also increase the risks of mouth cancer.

Oral piercings

There are many issues caused by oral piercings, including infections, the piercing chipping and breaking teeth, swelling of the tongue and difficulty eating and swallowing. They can also wear your teeth down and cause dental sensitivity.

Home teeth whitening kits

Always seek advice from your dentist as some kits are not safe or effective.

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your Public Health Nurse (School Nurse).

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Find help in your local area

Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.