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Keep smiling

Good oral health is important for your whole wellbeing.

Looking after your teeth is important at any age. It helps you enjoy your food, smile with confidence and feel good about yourself. But it’s not just teeth, your gums are important too.

Gum disease arises when you don’t clean your teeth properly and allow plaque to build up. Plaque contains harmful bacteria and can irritate your gums when it builds up along the gum-line. Hardened plaque is called tartar and is removed by the dentist or hygienist when you have a thorough teeth clean. If not treated, gum disease gets worse, affects the structures holding your teeth in place, and could mean teeth become loose or fall out.

The good news

The best way to ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy is to brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and clean gaps between your teeth using floss or interdental brushes. And whether you have your own teeth or wear dentures, it’s important to see your dentist regularly for a check-up. If you don’t have a dentist, go to and search for ‘Dentist’ to find an NHS dentist in your area.

Tips for better brushing

  • It doesn’t matter whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush as long as you clean your teeth thoroughly. Some people find an electric one easier.
  • Choose a brush with soft or medium bristles and if it has a small head, it is likely to be easier to move around your mouth.
  • Brush the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of your teeth thoroughly, which should take about two minutes.
  • If bristles become frayed or splayed out, they won’t work effectively, so that’s the time to buy a new brush or brush head. Your dentist can advise how often to do this.

Download our free factsheet

Dental care: NHS and private treatment

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Last updated: Aug 08 2017

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