World Oral Health Day: Healthy mouth, healthy body

Young woman preparing to brush her teeth.World Oral Health Day (WOHD) is celebrated every year on 20th March. It is an international day to celebrate the benefits of a healthy mouth and to promote awareness of oral health issues and the importance of oral hygiene to looking after everyone old and young.

Having a healthy mouth is important for overall health and wellbeing. Healthy teeth and gums play an important part in your ability to smile, eat, speak and socialize.

Free basic and necessary dental care is available to children and teenagers until they turn 18. Call 0800 TALK TEETH (0800 825 583) to find out more.

Parents should check their children’s teeth regularly. Lift the lip every month to check for signs of tooth decay (holes).

Tips for taking good care of your teeth

Taking care of your teeth and gums is not difficult or time-consuming – it only takes 5 minutes a day for adults, and 2 minutes for children! Daily brushing and flossing are the two most important ways of effectively removing plaque.

Here are some tips for taking good care of your teeth:

  • Brush teeth twice a day – after breakfast and before going to sleep at night.
  • Use regular-strength fluoride toothpaste – a speck for babies, a small dot for toddlers and a pea-sized amount for preschoolers and older children.
  • Spit out toothpaste but do not rinse. Rinsing strips off protective fluoride left behind from the toothpaste.
  • Have regular dental check-ups. This way you can treat any problems early and reduce considerable time, stress and cost.
  • Floss daily. Children should start to floss from age four – parents will need to do this for their child to start with.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months or soon after the bristles start to wear out.

What we eat and drink affects the health of our mouth

Tooth-friendly foods and drinks are also those that are recommended for overall general health. Frequent consumption of high sugar containing foods and drinks can contribute to tooth decay.

Also sweet foods that stick to teeth for long time such as dried fruit products, chocolates, or those sweet foods that are kept in the mouth for a long time such as lollipops, are particularly harmful for teeth.

To help maintain healthy teeth:

  • consume a diet high in fruits, vegetables and wholegrain starchy foods and low in sugars and fat
  • reduce how often and how much sugar you eat by selecting healthy nutritious snacks such as fruit pieces, cheese, chopped vegetables and sandwiches
  • avoid eating sugary foods in between meals. Sweet sticky foods are best eaten at mealtimes rather than between meals.
  • drink water or milk instead of acidic and sugary drinks such as fruit drinks, fruit juices, cordials, soft drinks and sport drinks. These acidic and sugary drinks are not recommended for infants and toddlers.
  • Quit or decrease smoking, or recreational drug use

Source: NZ Dental Association (NZDA) website.

Published on Monday, February 27th, 2017, under Uncategorised
Page last updated: 21/03/2017

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