How well do you look after your teeth and gums?

How well do you look after your teeth and gums?

March 20, 2019 is World Oral Health Day and a good time to ask ourselves if we’re doing enough to keep our teeth and gums healthy.

To help you do just that, the World Dental Federation – organiser of World Oral Health Day – has a handy checklist and tips to determine whether or not you practice good oral care. See how many of the following you can answer ‘yes’ to…


Do you brush your teeth twice a day?

Tip: According to the World Dental Federation, brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day and using a fluoride toothpaste can help reduce your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. As far as technique is concerned, the experts recommend brushing in a circular motion, either with a manual or electric toothbrush.


Do you know how much toothpaste you should use?

Tip: To keep your teeth and gums healthy, apply toothpaste to the full length of your toothbrush head. For children younger than three years, smear a rice grain-sized amount of toothpaste on their toothbrush, or a pea-size amount of toothpaste if your child is three or older.


Are you using toothpaste with the correct concentration of fluoride?

Tip: Adults should use a toothpaste with 1,000 – 1,500 parts per million (ppm) fluoride, says the World Dental Federation. The NHS, however recommends 1,350 – 1,500ppm. For children, the NHS also advises those under three should use toothpaste with at least 1,000ppm fluoride, and those aged three and older should use a toothpaste containing more than 1,000ppm fluoride.


Do you spit rather than rinse after brushing your teeth?

Tip: Don’t rinse your mouth with water straight after brushing, as this can wash away or dilute the fluoride from the toothpaste you’ve been brushing your teeth with. Instead, spit out the excess toothpaste (this will leave some fluoride behind to protect your teeth).


Do you clean between your teeth?

Tip: Cleaning between your teeth regularly using dental floss or interdental brushes can help dislodge food and may also reduce gum disease and bad breath by removing plaque that forms along the gum line. If you’re not sure how to clean between your teeth, your dentist or dental hygienist can show you what to do.


Do you eat a healthy diet?

Tip: Having a limited amount of foods and drinks containing sugar will help prevent tooth decay as well as other oral diseases. Currently, the government recommends that free sugars – that is, sugars added to foods or drinks as well as those found naturally in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies and purées – should not make up more than five per cent of your daily calories. This works out as:

  • 30g free sugars a day for adults (around seven sugar cubes)
  • 24g free sugars for children aged 7 – 10 (6 sugar cubes)
  • 19g free sugars for children aged 4 – 6 (5 sugar cubes)


Do you have regular check-ups with your dentist?

Tip: You should see your dentist for check-ups and cleanings as regularly as they recommend. According to the NHS, this usually means having a check-up every six months, though some people may need to go more often or less frequently (check-ups can vary from three monthly to twice yearly depending on how healthy your teeth and gums are).


For lots more tips on keeping your teeth and gums healthy, as well as everything you need to practice good oral care, visit your local Careway pharmacy.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.