Oral Health and Advice | A Better Medway

Oral Health

Oral Health is an important part of whole body health and well being. Clean teeth and a good smile will not only get you noticed but will boost confidence and self esteem.

Poor oral health can also be linked to serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, strokes, pneumonia, premature births, cancers and other major conditions.

Having a good oral care routine has lots of benefits :)

Medway Smiles Oral Health Top Tips

Looking after your mouth is part of taking care of your whole self and is very easy when you follow these tips

Tooth brushing Tips

  • Having a good teeth cleaning routine is really important and won't take much time or effort. Try to get into the habit of brushing your teeth and gums for around 2 minutes, twice every day to remove sticky plaque which is full of bacteria. Brush at night before sleeping and at one other time in the day, usually morning.
  • If you have forgotten to brush your teeth in the morning, clean when you get home (remember to still brush before bed)
  • Use a tooth paste that contains Fluoride which helps strengthen the teeth
  • The amount of Fluoride is important. Children up to 3 years old need a level of at least 1000ppm (parts per million). Use a smear of paste
  • After the age of 3 everyone should use paste with 1350-1450ppm use a pea size amount
  • Use a small headed brush - much easier to reach those back teeth
  • After brushing 'Spit don't Rinse'

A few more things it is good to know

Clean in-between your teeth every day too, you can try using floss or little inter dental brushes.

If you see any blood when you brush or spit out then it is a sign of gum disease. Do not panic! Just remember to brush right up to the gum edges when you clean and the bleeding should stop within a week or two.

  • Try not to have anything to eat or drink for 30-60 minutes after cleaning your teeth
  • Brushing straight after eating or drinking sugary things is never a good idea
  • Take a bottle or glass of water to bed if you get thirsty during the night

Mouthwash may freshen your breath but it cannot clean away the sticky Tooth brushplaque.

  • Bad breath is caused by the bacteria in dental plaque so a regular tooth brushing routine is the best solution
  • If you do use mouthwash then use it at a different time from tooth brushing; remember it is best not to rinse straight after brushing

Sugars in food and drinks

We all know that sugar is not good for teeth but did you know that is is the number or times you have sugar during the day that causes teeth to decay? Every time sugar goes into the mouth the bacteria will convert it to acid putting teeth at risk of decay. So as well as cutting down the amount of sugar in your diet it is very important to reduce the number of times a day you eat or drink sugary things.

Try these tips to help you enjoy some sugar in your diet without causing harm to your teeth

  • Keep foods and drinks that contain sugars to meal times only
  • Cut down on the amount of sugar that you add to hot drinks and foods like breakfast cereals
  • Have a small sweet treat at the end of your evening meal
  • Snack on fresh fruits and vegetables or something savoury
  • Drink water in between meals, it not only helps your teeth but will also help your skin and keep you hydrated and more alert
  • Chew sugar free gum or drink water to dilute sugar acids after eating sweet foods

Teeth and fizzy drinks are never a great combination so if you do like to drink fizz try to limit the amount you have each day and keep it to meal times as much as possible. A can or bottle of fizzy drink will contain between 7 and 12 teaspoons of sugar

  • Choose sugar free varieties
  • Use a straw and the drink will go straight past your teeth!
  • Add some ice or keep drinks cold in the fridge
  • Never 'swish' fizzy drinks through your teeth as it will damage teeth enamel and could cause sensitivity or decay

Going to the dentist

Having regular dental checks to make sure that nothing is wrong with your teeth and oral health. You will usually need to see a dentist once or twice a year. NHS dental checks and treatment is free up to the age of 18. Babies should be taking from a very early age to get them used to the unfamiliar sounds and smells of the surgery. You can find the Medway Smiles Passport page here.

  • It is easier to repair a small problem rather than leaving it until you are in pain
  • Take children from an early age, do not wait until something has gone wrong.

The dentist will not only check teeth and gums but will check for early warning signs of mouth cancers.

Find a local NHS dentist:

  • Tel: Kent Community Health Helpline 0300 123 4412
  • Tel: NHS: 111

Your mouth, Smoking and Alcohol

Smoking: There are very few tips for smoking and oral health because the facts are that tobacco contains chemicals which stain, dry and irritate the teeth and mouth causing bad breath, gum disease and cancers. So all in all smoking really is not good for your mouth.

  •  Do make sure you have a good tooth brushing habit as smoking will cause your breath to smell and stain tooth enamel
  • Seriously think about quitting with the help and support of the Stop Smoking Service. Find more information about quitting smoking here. Adult Mouth

Alcohol can cause a lot of problems in the mouth and alcoholic drinks or non alcoholic mixers will affect teeth because of the high sugar content. Getting very drunk may cause further damage to your teeth if you fall over and hit your face. Enjoy alcohol sensibly and follow these tips to help protect your teeth. More information about Alcohol Awareness can be found here.

  • Add ice to drinks and use a straw to take the drink beyond the teeth
  • Pace yourself and have a glass of water between drinks if you are out for a long evening
  • Choose sugar free mixers
  • Chew sugar free chewing gum to dilute the acidic sugars
  • Do not drink alcohol to excess and stay safe.

For more information

  • Phone: 01634 331380
  • See NHS Choices at http://www.nhs.uk/
  • To find a local dentist it is either Kent Community Health Helpline 0300 123 4412 or NHS 111. Out of hours emergencies is Dentaline 01634 890 300 Attendance by appointment only
  • See The Oral Health Foundation at http://www.dentalhealth.org/

To top of page

Public Health England - Guides to a healthy mouth:




Good oral care




Child oral health


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