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National Smile Month 2012: How to take care of your teeth

National Smile Month 2012: How to take care of your teethOnce Easter is over and you’ve eaten enough chocolate eggs to keep you going for a while, it’s a great time to think about getting your mouth back into shape. As we all know, sweet treats don’t just take their toll on our waistlines – they can give our teeth a good bashing too! In light of National Smile Month 2012 (20 May – 20 June 2012), we’re taking a look at some simple ways to help keep that smile of yours as pearly white and fresh as possible.

How to find a local dentist
First things first, registering with a dentist and maintaining a schedule of regular check-up appointments is vital. Everyone knows this, but it can sometimes be one of those things that gets forgotten – particularly if you’ve just moved house. If you’re new to an area and are looking for an NHS dentist to register with, the NHS Choices website is a great place to start. Here you can search for dentists in your area and find those which are taking on patients. It also displays comments from people who have used a particular dentist, giving you an idea of the type of service you can expect.

If you’re looking to register with a private dentist, it can be a bit more difficult to know where to start. The Private Health UK website has a database of private dentists in the UK, which could be useful if you’re looking to narrow down your options. Unlike NHS dentists, private dentists can have more flexible prices. If you find yourself faced with a choice of multiple private dentists in your area, take a look at the cost and range of services they offer before making a decision. It can also help to talk to your neighbours, colleagues or friends to find out which dentist they use and whether they recommend them or not.

How to look after your teeth
We’ve all been told it a thousand times before, but cleaning your teeth properly helps keep your mouth healthy and your breath fresh. We’ve probably all been told how to look after our teeth properly a thousand times too, but just in case you’ve forgotten, here are a few pointers.

Brush your teeth twice a day, either with a manual or electric toothbrush, using a fluoride toothpaste.

Change your toothbrush (or toothbrush head) when the bristles get out of shape – this is usually about every three months.

Use floss or interdental brushes to clean between your teeth. Doing this every day will help dislodge some of the plaque that you can’t reach with your toothbrush.

Visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist will tell you how often you need a check up, as this depends on the health of your teeth and gums in the first place. It could be as often as every three months, or it could be once every couple of years.

Cut down on sugary foods and drinks. We all know these sweet delights are bad for our teeth so limiting the amount we consume can help keep your teeth in better shape. Chewing sugar-free gum after eating can also help cut down the damage acidy foods and drinks do.
For more information about National Smile Month, visit the National Smile Month 2012 website.

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