General advice for adults

General Advice for Adults

To promote good oral health there are four key messages:

Diet: reduce the amount, and the number of times you have drinks and foods containing sugar each day.

Both are important in determining the rate of tooth decay. When you have sugar, it should be part of a meal rather than between meals. Snacks and drinks should be free of added sugar, whenever possible. The frequent drinking of acidic drinks (such as fruit juices, squashes or fizzy drinks) should also be avoided to help prevent dental erosion.

Toothbrushing: clean the teeth thoroughly twice every day with a family fluoride toothpaste.

Effective daily toothbrushing with a fluoride toothpaste is the best way of preventing both tooth decay and gum disease. Other methods, such as floss and special brushes are best used after they have been demonstrated by the dental team. Thorough brushing of the teeth and the gums twice every day is of more value than more frequent hurried brushing. A small headed soft -to -medium texture toothbrush should be used. Effective toothbrushing with fluoride toothpaste will only help control decay provided that the diet is also favourable.

Fluoridation: fluoridation of the public water supply is a safe and highly effective public health measure.

Water fluoridation is the most effective method of reducing dental decay. It should be recommended for areas with high decay rates. Support efforts to have your local water supply fluoridated. Where this is not feasible other fluoride strategies should be employed such as programmes to promote the use of fluoride toothpaste. Click here for more information.

Dental attendance: have an oral examination at least once every year.

Adults, irrespective of age and dental condition, should have an oral examination approximately once every year. Those at greater risk from oral disease, including smokers, may need to be seen more frequently. This is so that cases of oral disease can be detected early and treated. This advice also applies to those without any natural teeth. Children should see a dentist at least once a year or more frequently as advised by the dentist.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend the following. "The recommended interval between check - ups is determined specifically for each patient and tailored to meet his or her needs, on the basis of an assessment of disease levels and risk of or from dental disease."