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Oral health

girl cleaning teeth, yellow  - Oral health

Some of the main oral health issues people may experience include:

  • gum disease: Gingivitis (reversible) and periodontitis (irreversible) 
  • tooth decay (Caries)
  • oral cancers

People may experience:

  • pain
  • bleeding gums
  • gaps between teeth
  • bad breath
  • swelling 
  • infection 
  • tooth loss

Gum disease

The main risk factors that can cause gum disease are poor oral hygiene habits and smoking. On top of brushing your teeth twice a day, to help prevent gum disease, you can:

  • use inter dental cleaning aids such as dental floss, to remove the plaque between your teeth that is tough to remove with tooth brushing alone
  • quit or reduce smoking! Find support to quit from Smokefree Gateshead 

Tooth decay

Tooth decay is almost an entirely preventable disease. To help prevent decay you can:

  • brush teeth twice daily for two minutes
  • reduce the frequency and the number of sugary foods and drinks you eat. Download the NHS food scanner app (opens new window) to find healthy sugar swaps 
  • only drink plain water and milk between meals to reduce the build-up of bacteria
  • spit, don't rinse! This means fluoride, which helps to re mineralise and keep teeth strong, stays on your teeth to protect them

Gum disease, tooth decay and diabetes

If you have diabetes then you are at greater risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay.

Gum disease can increase your blood sugar levels which can make other complications of diabetes worse. Too much sugar in your blood can lead to more sugar in saliva which can then increase the risk of tooth decay.

Diabetes UK (opens new window) looks at how keeping your mouth, teeth and gums healthy is an important part of managing your diabetes.

Top tips to help keep a healthy smile

  • Brush teeth twice daily for two minutes with fluoridated toothpaste to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Use Toothpaste with a concentration of 1450ppm. On the back of your toothpaste tube, you need to look for the wording, 1450ppm which means 1450 parts per million of fluoride. This is an adult toothpaste, suitable for ages seven and above. Younger children can have this if instructed by their dentist.
  • Children aged three and under should use toothpaste that contains at least 1000ppm fluoride.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for checkups.

Support and advice

Find national and local advice and support to help you look after your teeth.