What is oral health?
Oral health is the health of our teeth and mouth.
Good oral health care is down to daily habits like balanced diet and regular brushing.
Sink your teeth into our quiz
Key facts about not looking after teeth
Without good oral health, we leave ourselves vulnerable to a whole host of problems including tooth decay and gum disease. This can have an impact on our quality of life, for example:
- Bad breath caused by bacteria that grow on bits of leftover food hiding between your teeth. Sulphur compounds unleashed by bacteria are responsible for the odour.
- Tooth pain can be unbearable. This is because the inside of your tooth contains highly sensitive nerve endings. When these nerves become exposed or irritated they cause pain.
- Tooth decay, exposed gums and tooth loss can have an impact on our ability to eat or speak.
- Gum disease can lead to bad breath, tooth decay and pain. Other symptoms include inflamed or receding gums, an unpleasant taste in your mouth or abscesses.
- Mental health Embarrassment, lack of confidence and low self-esteem are often linked to oral hygiene. This can seriously impact your quality of life and lead to the development of other mental health conditions.
Braces can straighten your misaligned teeth. This makes caring for teeth much easier and helps to prevent problems from occurring in the future. Another common side effect is increased smiling!
If you play contact sport like hockey or rugby, invest in a mouthguard and protect your teeth. Dentists can create a mouth guard that fits you perfectly, meaning you get the best protection.
These simple habits are vital for a healthy mouth and teeth:
- Brush twice a day for at least two minutes to remove food debris, plaque and bacteria. Don’t be tempted to brush too hard. Change your toothbrush every three months.
- Use toothpaste with flouride. This helps to strengthen enamel and reduce decay.
- To make the removal of plaque and tartar build-up even more effective use dental floss and a mouthwash.
- Cut down on sugar. Sugar creates acid that slowly wears down enamel, creating holes in your teeth.
- Take regular trips to the dentist to prevent problems. Dentists can look for early warning signs and stop problems from developing. Call 0300 123 4412 or text 07520 618850 (Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm) to find your nearest NHS dentist in Kent. If you are under 16 years of age, please make sure you get the consent of your parent or carer. Speak to your dentist if you are feeling insecure about your teeth for more advice.