If you’ve got a question about your oral health, check below to see if it’s addressed in our FAQ’s. If you can’t find what you are looking for, please feel free to contact us, or visit our other patient pages for more advice and information.
What can I do to keep my teeth healthy?
See our section on ‘Looking after your teeth’ for advice on how you can take steps to ensure your teeth stay healthy.
How often should I brush my teeth?
We recommend that you should brush your teeth twice a day (morning and evening) for 2 minutes, and using a fluoride toothpaste (where possible)
How often should I go to the dentist?
How often you should visit the dentist will depend on your personal risk level. A number of factors will be taken into account, including your current dental health and your dental history. Your dental team will be able to advise the most appropriate recall rate for you.
When should my child get their first check up?
General recommendation is that children should go to the dentist for their first check up by the age of 1, or within 6 months of their first tooth erupting.
Should I use mouthwash?
Fluoridated mouthwash can help prevent caries as part of a full oral healthcare plan. Mouthwash should not be used directly after brushing as it will wash away the concentrated fluoride left on your teeth by the toothpaste. In order for it to be effective, don’t eat or drink for 30 minutes after using mouthwash.
Antibacterial mouthwash can also be used in the prevention of gum disease.
Should I be flossing?
Flossing and the use of interdental brushes can help to remove plaque bacteria from places regular brushing might miss, particularly around the gum line. This more thorough cleaning can reduce the likelihood of developing gum disease.
What is fluoride and is it safe?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring compound plays a vital role for your teeth and the prevention of dental caries. Research on use of fluoride in preventing dental caries has been conducted since the early part of the 20th century and fluoride is now known to be safe in recommended doses and is used widely across the globe.
Is smoking bad for my teeth?
Smoking is well known to have multiple negative health effects however it can also have a huge impact on your oral health. Smoking and tobacco usage cause stained teeth, can affect your sense of taste and also give you bad breath. Smoking is also a significant risk factor associated with gum disease and the use of tobacco can hugely increase your risk of developing oral cancer. If you have any worries about your health in relation to smoking please contact your GP or medical provider.
Is it safe for me to go to the dentist when I’m pregnant?
It is very important (and safe) to get dental check-ups whilst pregnant to keep your risk of infection and further complications down. Certain procedures, such as cleanings and fillings can be undertaken whilst pregnant, however any non-essential procedures should be postponed until after the baby is born. In some countries, dental treatment is offered for free to women who are pregnant.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath (halitosis) can be caused by a number of things.
- Poor oral hygiene- the build-up of bacteria (plaque) on teeth is the most common cause of bad breath. Without maintaining regular brushing, these bacteria will break down any food trapped between your teeth which may then be responsible for bad breath. These are the bacteria which are also responsible for the development of caries and gum disease.
- Food and drink- if you’ve eaten strong smelling food or drink (such as garlic, spicy foods, coffee etc.) this can affect the smell of your breath. Bad breath caused by food or drink is usually temporary.
- Diet- if you are undertaking an extreme diet, fasting or eating a low-carbohydrate diet this can often affect your breath. When the body breaks down fat, chemicals are produced which can give you bad breath.
- Medication- taking certain types of medication can cause bad breath. If you believe this to be the case, speak to your GP who may be able to recommend an alternative.
- Medical conditions- bad breath which doesn’t go away with improved diet and oral hygiene can be a sign of certain medical conditions including:
- Dry Mouth
- Gastrointestinal Conditions
- Throat or nose infections
If you believe that you might be suffering from any of these conditions, seek medical advice.
What causes sensitive teeth?
Tooth sensitivity is an issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It can be caused by a number of factors, including the following:
- Tooth decay
- Grinding your teeth at night
- Thinned enamel due to aggressive brushing or consumption of highly acidic food and drink.
- Exposed roots due to gum recession.
- Recent dental treatment (this should be temporary sensitivity)
If you are experiencing sensitive teeth, make an appointment with your dental team for advice.
What should I do if I knock out or break a tooth?
Broken teeth are not a dental emergency however it is important to make an appointment with your dental team as soon as possible to fix the problem. If possible, find the fragment of tooth; the dentist may be able to reattach it on to the tooth. Depending on the severity of the break, further treatment may be required on the broken tooth, such as a filling, crown or root canal.
If you knock out a tooth, this is a dental emergency and you should contact an emergency dentist straight away. The NHS recommends the following actions If you knock out a tooth, you should:
- Find the tooth
- Hold it by the crown (the white bit that sticks out of the gum)
- Lick the tooth clean if it’s dirty, or rinse it in water
- Put it back into position (adult teeth only); never try to re-insert a baby tooth (see below)
- Bite on a handkerchief to hold the tooth in place
- Go to see a dentist as an emergency
If you can’t put the tooth back in position, put it in milk and see a dentist straight away. The sooner a knocked-out tooth is re-implanted, the more likely it is to embed itself back into the gum (1)
How do I know if I have gum disease?
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms you may be at risk of gum disease.
- Swollen, red or bleeding gums
- Loose or sensitive teeth
- Bad breath that does not go away with improved oral hygiene.
- Painful chewing
- Receding gum lines
If you are concerned about periodontal disease, contact your dental team to make an appointment.
How do I know if I have tooth decay?
Early stages of tooth decay often have no obvious symptoms. More advanced caries may result in a number of symptoms:
- Sensitivity or pain when eating or drinking something hot or cold or sweet.
- Spontaneous toothache
- Pain when biting
- Visible holes or pits in the teeth.
The only way to detect early stage caries is through regular dental check-ups. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms please contact your dental team immediately. For more details about dental caries visit our caries fact page here.