Tips and Advice For Good Dental Health

When Should I See a Dentist 

  • An infant should start seeing a dentist soon after their first teeth erupt
  • A child/adult should then see a dentist regularly – recall intervals will be judged by the dentist

Basic Principles on Brushing

  • Brush twice a day for at least two minutes
  • Brushing before bed time is the most important
  • If using a manual toothbrush, it is advisable to change it every two to three months
  • Electric toothbrushes aid in technique with brushing but are not essential

Toothpaste

  • Use a fluoridated toothpaste. Please read labels.
  • Children up to three years: No less than 1000 ppm (parts per million of fluoride found on the back of the toothpaste)
  • Children age 3-6: 1350-1500 ppm
  • Adults: 1450-1500 ppm
  • Advised to spit don’t rinse after brushing

Mouthwash

  • Preferably alcohol free
  • Contains fluoride
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Use separately to brushing

Dietary advice to prevent dental decay for children

  • From six months of age infants should be introduced to drinking from a cup
  • Babies over 12 months old should be discouraged from feeding from a bottle
  • Sugar should not be added to weaning foods
  • The frequency and amount of sugary food and drinks should be limited
  • Sugar consumed should be limited to mealtimes
  • Sugars should not be consumed more than four times per day

Dietary advice to prevent dental decay for adults

  • The frequency and amount of sugary food and drinks should be limited
  • Sugar consumed, limited to mealtimes
  • Sugars should not be consumed more than four times per day
  • Sugars (excluding those naturally present in whole fruit) should provide less than 10% of total energy in the diet or less than 60g per person per day which is equivalent to four tablespoons of sugar
  • Note that for young children this will be around 33 g per day which is equivalent to two tablespoons of sugar
  • Most sugars in your diet are contained in processed and manufactured foods and drinks
  • Potentially decay-causing foods and drinks include:
    • sugar and chocolate confectionery
    • cakes and biscuits
    • buns, pastries, fruit pies
    • sponge puddings and other puddings
    • table sugar
    • sugared breakfast cereals
    • jams, preserves, honey
    • ice cream
    • fruit in syrup
    • fresh fruit juices
    • sugared soft drinks
    • sugared, milk-based beverages
    • sugar-containing alcoholic drinks
    • dried fruits
    • syrups and sweet sauces.

It is important to recognise that honey, fresh fruit juice and dried fruit also contain decay-causing sugars.

Dietary advice to reduce risk of oral cancer

To lower your risk of developing oral cancer:

  • reduce alcohol consumption to moderate (recommended) levels
  • maintain good dietary practices
  • increase fruit and vegetable intake to at least five portions per day.

Dietary advice to prevent dental tooth wear (erosion)

  • avoid frequent intake of acidic foods or drinks – keep them to mealtimes
  • laboratory studies have shown that the following types of drinks, foods and medication have erosive potential:
    • drinks containing citric acid – e.g orange
    • grapefruit, lemon, blackcurrant
    • carbonated drinks
    • alcopops and designer drinks
    • cider
    • white wine
    • fruit teas (but not camomile)
    • some sports drinks which contain acid
    • acidic fresh fruit – lemons, oranges, grapefruit – that are consumed with high frequency
    • pickles
    • chewable vitamin C tablets, aspirin, some iron preparations.