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Keeping teeth clean and healthy is very important. A thorough brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and regular checkups at your dentist will keep teeth and gums in good health, and reduce the risk of gum disease, tooth loss, and infections.
Teeth should be brushed at least twice a day for two minutes at a time. It's usually best to do this first thing in the morning before breakfast, and before you go to bed. You should avoid brushing straight after a meal or after drinking sweet or acidic drinks like fruit juice.
If you have problems with your hand coordination or grip, you can buy specially adapted toothbrushes with handles that may help. Some people also find electric toothbrushes helpful as they reduce the amount of hand movement needed.
If you have problems with your vision and find it difficult to see what you're doing when brushing your teeth, a good bathroom light and a magnifying mirror might be useful.
For more advice on keeping teeth and gums clean and healthy, see the Teeth Cleaning Guide on the NHS Choices website.
Whether you choose to see an NHS or private dentist, you should make an appointment for a checkup every 18 months. If you find it difficult to get to the dentist, you may be able to request home visits. If your current dentist does not provide this service, they should be able to refer you another dentist who does. This means your regular dental checkup can be carried out in the comfort of your own home.
If you are in receipt of certain benefits or on a low income, you may be able to get NHS dental treatment for free, or help with dental charges. For more information, visit the Help with Dental Costs page on the NHS Choices website.
You can find a list of local NHS dentists by using the Dentist Search on the NHS Choices website. You can also see what services are offered, and how other patients have rated them.
Alternatively the Healthwatch website provides lists of dentist surgeries in your area (as well as information on many other health and social care support services).
If you've lost some or all of your teeth and wear full or partial dentures, it's important to take care of these to keep them clean and in good condition.
You should clean your dentures as often as you would clean your natural teeth. Brush them twice a day and use a denture soak to keep them feeling fresh. Make sure you clean all sides of the dentures, including the side that touches your gums. Your dentist will be able to tell you which cleaning products to use, and how to deal with any stubborn stains or discoloration.
You can get more advice on looking after your dentures, particularly if you are an older person, from the British Dental Health Foundation.
NHS Choices has a wealth of information on dental health, how to find a dentist, and what charges you can expect for treatment from an NHS dentist.
The British Dental Health Foundation has general advice on taking care of your teeth and gums, and also specific advice for older people.
The Easy Health website has gathered together various videos and easy-to-read leaflets which will help people with learning disabilities to understand more about looking after their teeth.
If you have any concerns about your teeth, talk to your dentist or doctor who will be able to advise you.
© Essex County Council 2018