We all want to have healthy teeth and gums, but sometimes it can be difficult to start new habits and maintain these good habits.  More and more research is now emerging connecting the health of the mouth to the health of the body.  It is this research that even prompted the Commonwealth Government to come up with the previous “Chronic Disease Dental Scheme” in an effort to create healthy mouths in those with chronic systemic conditions.
Below are  6 steps that can get you started on the path to a healthy mouth.
1. Plan and Commit
Plan an oral care routine that is easy to follow and suits your needs. Some people may require a more tailored programme, such as those with underlying health problems or on medication.   Commit to the routine every day.
2. Use Fluoride
It is important to use toothpaste containing fluoride every day and during the day rinse frequently with water which is fluoridated. Both children and adults benefit from fluoride.
3. Brush and Floss
Brush at least twice a day and floss once a day.  You may even need to brush after each meal if  you are at high risk of tooth decay or gum disease. Plaque, a complex mass of bacteria, must be removed to avoid decay and gum inflammation.
4. Limit Snacks
Every time you eat you provide the plaque on your teeth with sugars. The plaque can then breakdown these sugars and produce acid as a result. Each snack allows a further 20 minutes or more of acid production. This repeated acid production through snacking results in a cavity by attacking the enamel on your teeth. Chewing sugar free gum after eating can help limit the acid production by increasing saliva.
5. Quit Smoking
Smoking increases the risk of oral cancer, gingivitis, periodontitis, tooth decay, bad breath and stains.
6. Visit the Dentist
Check with your dentist how frequently you should visit. More frequent visits are recommended if you have a history of cavities, if you are wearing braces or if you have implants.  If you  smoke or have diabetes you are more likely to have gum disease and should visit more often as well.  Generally health funds will make a payment towards cleans up to 4 times per year.

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