World Oral Health Day is celebrated every year on 20th March. Its aim is to raise global awareness on the prevention and control of oral diseases by promoting good oral health empowering us to maintain a healthy mouth at all ages.
Here are some tips for improving oral hygiene:
* Regularly brushing your teeth-this will keep your teeth and gums healthy as well as preventing tooth decay and gum disease.
* Toothbrush choice-it does not matter whether electric or manual-some people find it easier to clean their teeth thoroughly with an electric toothbrush.
* Use toothpaste that contains the right amount of fluoride, a natural mineral that helps protect against tooth decay.
* Regularly use interdental brushes or flossing -preferably daily, before brushing your teeth.
* Regularly incorporate tongue cleaning into your daily routine and also the use of mouthwashes. You can use a tongue cleaner or a soft bristle toothbrush, stroking in a back to front motion.
* Regular rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash will help clean the teeth.
* Eat a healthy diet including reducing the amount of sugar food and drinks. Sugar helps plaque grow and germs thrive on the sugary foods to make acid which then contributes to tooth decay.
* Limit the amount of acid in contact with your teeth including fizzy drinks and fizzy water as well as fruit juices and choose less acidic drinks for example still water.
* Fruit juices and smoothies are high in natural sugars and should be restricted at meal times.
* Chew sugar free gum after meals as the gum will help to rub plaque from the tooth surfaces and stimulate the flow of saliva. Saliva helps to flush the mouth to help clear any debris and acid remaining from the meal.
* Stop smoking -smoking is one of the most significant risk factors of gum disease and giving up can greatly improve your oral health. If you need help with giving up smoking then contact your GP or contact the NHS Smokefree National Helpline on 0300 123 1044
* Visit your dentist/hygienist for regular reviews.
FDI World Dental Federation, NHS Choices, Patient UK & Healthwise