There is a lot you can do to keep your teeth and mouth healthy. A healthy mouth means less tooth loss and pain, better smelling breath and a better looking and feeling mouth.
To keep your mouth healthy you should:
- use fluorides
- have a healthy diet
- maintain good oral hygiene
- not smoke
- protect your mouth against trauma.
Fluoride helps to harden teeth and bones. It is a normal part of the human body but we receive very little of the fluoride we need from foods. As a result, fluoridated water is available to about two-thirds of the Australian population. This water is well recognised by public health groups and scientific bodies around the world as an important, safe and effective way of decreasing tooth disease.
If you live in an area where the water is not fluoridated, talk to your dentist about taking fluoride supplements.
Have a healthy diet
A healthy diet can help maintain healthy teeth.
Beware of sugar
If you have a high sugar diet, you are at risk of tooth decay. Sugar from your food mixes with bacteria in your mouth to create acids that cause a loss of tooth enamel and then holes in your teeth. Refined, white sugar is the worst offender. So be careful about the quantity and volume of the sugar you take in.
Acidic substances in food and drink can directly cause the loss of tooth enamel. Food and drinks that cause this include soft drinks, sport drinks, fruit and fruit juices, wine, pickles and chewable vitamin tablets.
While severe malnutrition is extremely rare in Australia, it can be associated with damage to the structure of teeth and their supporting tissues.
Maintain good oral hygiene
As an adult, it is recommended that you:
- brush your teeth at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste
- floss your teeth daily
- have regular check-ups with a dentist or dental hygienist.
A regular daily oral hygiene routine decreases plaque, and the overall number of harmful bacteria and other substances that can cause problems for your gums and teeth. It also increases tooth-surface resistance and the ability of your mouth to repair problems.
We all know smoking is extremely harmful for your body. This includes your mouth. Smoking increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, tooth loss, gum problems and staining of teeth. Stopping smoking will see the return to a relatively healthy mouth over a fairly short time period. If you do smoke, see your GP to discuss how he or she can help you quit.
Protect your mouth against trauma
Damage to teeth is often complex, expensive and difficult to repair. While oral injuries can occur at any time, certain sports, leisure activities and workplaces can pose particular risks. Consider how you can decrease the risk of mouth injuries, such as using a mouthguard when playing a contact sport.
The Women’s does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference. The Women’s provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.