More than just teeth...oral health plays a big part in our general health & wellbeing.
Poor oral health can have a negative impact on our social and mental health (self esteem). It can lead to oral diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease, and can also increase the risk of complications associated with heart disease, respiratory illness, diabetes and stroke.
The best way to look after our teeth is to create healthy habits from birth and continue these throughout life; however it is never too late to start taking care of your oral health.
Healthy Tips for Teeth
General Oral Hygiene
- Brush your teeth every morning and night.
- Clean between your teeth at least once a day using interdental brushes or floss
- Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride; it helps strengthen tooth enamel making it more resistant to decay.
- Do not rinse your mouth after brushing with water or mouthwash – this gives the fluoride more time to protect your teeth.
- If you choose to use mouthwash it should be used at a different time of day to toothbrushing, for example, after a meal.
- Change your toothbrush at least every 3 months or sooner if it becomes worn as this will not clean the teeth properly.
- Dentures should be rinsed after every meal and cleaned at least once a day. They should be removed overnight to allow gums to breathe and rest.
- Find out more oral hygeine tips here
Oral Hygiene for Kids
- Start brushing your baby’s teeth every morning and evening as soon as the first tooth appears. Use a smear of fluoride toothpaste and a soft bristle toothbrush.
- Children need help brushing their teeth until they are at least 7 years old. From age 2 years old, use a small pea size amount of toothpaste.
- As soon as your child is able to spit you should encourage them to spit out their toothpaste and not to swallow it.
- Find out more tips for your child here
This great app ensures your child is brushing their teeth for long enough and then can brush along to their favourite song - Brush DJ
- Eat a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables, aim for 5 portions a day.
- Avoid snacking on sugary foods to reduce the time your teeth come under attack.
- Stop smoking and other forms of tobacco use as it can increase the risk of gum disease and oral cancers, as well as stained teeth and bad breath.
- Cut down on alcohol with at least 2 alcohol free days a week. Alcoholic drinks contain acids and sugars and can increase the risk of mouth cancers in patients who consume high levels of alcohol. This risk is greatly increased if you smoke and drink.
Local Dental Services in Shetland
- It is recommended that everyone should see a dentist regularly, even more so for denture patients – your dentist can advise how often you need to see them.
- Priority is given to patients who cannot regularly access routine dental care (frail older people and those with special needs)
- NHS Shetland is responsible for Dental Public Health including epidemiology and Oral Health Improvement interventions (e.g. Caring for Smiles, Childsmile, Smile4Life, oral health education).
- The services that NHS Shetland offer can be found here
- For information on a general dental topic or assistance in running an oral health project, you can contact NHS Shetland’s Oral Health Improvement Team on 01595 743611/ 743237/ 743692
NHS Shetland Public Dental Service Clinics:
- Montfield Dental Clinic
- Burgh Road, Lerwick, ZE1 0LA Tel: 01595 743200
- St Olaf Street Dental Clinic
- 90 St Olaf Street, Lerwick, ZE1 0NE Tel: 01595 695769
- Brae Dental Clinic
- Brae Health Centre, Brae, ZE2 9QJ Tel: 01806 522461
- North Isles Dental Clinic
- Mid Yell Health Centre, Mid Yell, ZE2 9BX Tel: 01957 702031
- Whalsay Dental Clinic
- Whalsay Health Centre, Whalsay, ZE2 9AA Tel: 01806 566469
Independent Dental Practice (provides NHS and Private treatment):
- The Lerwick Dental Practice
- 4 Market Street, Lerwick, ZE1 0JN Tel: 01595 690265
- Family Dental Practice
- 47 North Road, Lerwick, ZE1 0NT
Tel: 01595 695255
- 47 North Road, Lerwick, ZE1 0NT
- Patients who are registered with the Public Dental Service should contact 01595 743200 between 08.45 and 17.15 (Mon – Fri) and NHS24 on 111 out with these times for dental emergencies. Someone will take details about your symptoms and then will decide what the best option is to help you.
- Non – registered patients can be seen by NHS Shetland for emergency care only but are encouraged to contact the Independent Dental Practice to be registered and received ongoing care.