Taking good care of your teeth and gums on a daily basis can help reduce dental problems you might have in the future.
Below are some useful dental and mouth care tips:
- Maintain a good standard of oral hygiene. Brush your teeth using a fluoride toothpaste twice a day to remove plaque – once in the morning and once before you go to bed.
- Thorough brushing with either a manual or electric toothbrush should take around two minutes.
- Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every three months.
- Floss daily between your teeth to remove plaque.
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Avoid too many sweet foods and sugary drinks. Where possible limit them to mealtimes.
- Avoid drinking too much coffee or alcohol.
- Have regular dental check ups. Your dentist can advice you how often you need a check-up, as it depends on factors such as your age, general health and dental history.
- Antibacterial mouthwashes (available from your pharmacist) may also help fight plaque and bacteria. Talk to your dentist first to see if mouthwash is right for you.
- Chew sugar-free gum to encourage the flow of saliva in your mouth.
- To keep your breath fresh, try to limit the amount of alcohol, garlic, onions, curries and strong-flavoured fish in your diet.
- If you smoke, try to cut down or quit.
If you develop halitosis (bad breath) that doesn't go away with good oral hygiene, make an appointment with your doctor or dentist to get advice on managing the problem.
See more tips for proper brushing and flossing.
Get advice on dental care for children.
When to seek further help
See your dentist for advice if you have:
- painful, swollen or bleeding gums
- pus coming from your gums
- a bad taste in your mouth that won’t go away
- loose teeth (these can be caused by infected gums)
- abscesses in your mouth – these can be under your teeth and will usually be very painful.
If you develop any of the following symptoms with your mouth problems, contact your doctor as soon as possible:
- any difficulty talking or swallowing
- swollen lymph glands in your neck
- a fever (a temperature over 38⁰C).
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: November 2017