A quick guide to a healthy mouth in adults

A healthy mouth in adults

The information below provides a summary of the simple steps that adults can take every day to protect and improve their oral health. This is a guide to a healthy mouth in adults. A guide for children can be found here. The evidence based advice is from Delivering better oral health

Looking after your mouth

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste containing 1350 – 1500 parts per million fluoride (ppm) fluoride. Brush last thing at night, so that the fluoride continues to protect the teeth while you sleep, and on at least on one other occasion  

  • The dentist may prescribe toothpaste with a higher fluoride level if you are at particular risk of tooth decay  

  • Brush all surfaces of each tooth carefully and the gum line

  • Spit out after brushing but do not rinse away the toothpaste as this reduces the effectiveness of the fluoride – spit don’t rinse

  • Choose a toothbrush with a small head and medium-textured bristles, you can use either a manual or electric toothbrush

  • If you need support to brush your teeth, toothbrush adaptations are available

  • Replace your toothbrush regularly, every one to three months or when the bristles are worn

  • Reduce the amount and number of times you have foods and drinks that contain added sugars

  • Reduce the amount of sugar-sweetened drinks you consume, such as fizzy and soft drinks and squash

  • Avoid sugary foods and drinks just before bedtime as the saliva flow in the mouth slows down when you sleep, and can increase the risk of tooth decay

As part of a daily oral health routine in addition to brushing, it is important to clean between the teeth using interdental brushes.

Some people may not have large enough spaces in between their teeth to use an interdental brush so flossing can be a useful alternative

The dental team will show you how best to clean between your teeth

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