All adults can maintain good dental health throughout adulthood by adopting good oral hygiene practices and by having a healthy diet.
Common oral health conditions in adults can include tooth decay (dental caries), gum disease, tooth wear, dry mouth and tooth sensitivity. Decay in adults can be common around fillings and between teeth.
Proper nutrition is necessary for healthy teeth and gums. Eating a well-balanced diet gives gum tissues and teeth the important nutrients and minerals needed to stay strong and resist infections. Soft, sticky foods tend to remain on the grooves and between teeth.
- Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods.
- If you eat sugary foods and sweets, limit their intake (especially between meals).
- When you do snack, choose nutritious foods such as cheese and dry crackers, vegetables, natural yogurt or fresh fruit.
- Drink plenty of tap water.
- Avoid acidic and sugary drinks such as soft drinks, sports drinks, cordials, fruit juices and flavoured or carbonated water. If consumed, these are best to have with meals rather than between.
- Choose plain milk instead of flavoured milk.
- Use fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day - especially before you go to sleep at night.
Dentures should be cleaned after meals to keep them free from food particles and plaque. Brush both the inside and outside with a mild soap. Remove dentures overnight to allow the mouth to rest. After cleaning, dentures can be kept in a cup of fresh cold water, or left to dry.
- Wear a professionally fitted mouth guard when training and playing sport where there is risk of oral injury.
- If you smoke, quit for good.
- If you drink alcohol, limit your intake.
- Protect your mouth and face from the sun to reduce the risk of skin cancer.
- Have regular oral health checkups – don’t wait for a problem.
- Seek advice from an oral health professional about how often you should have checkups.
- Those without natural teeth also need checkups.