1. How often do you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste?
A. Twice or more a day.
B. At least once daily.
C. Not very often.
2. Do you drink sweetened fizzy drinks, cordial or fruit juices?
A. I drink sweetened fizzy drinks, cordial or fruit juice between meals every day.
B. I drink sweetened fizzy drinks, cordial or fruit juice between meals several times a week
C. I usually drink only water.
3. Do you floss your teeth?
A. Yes, every day.
B. Only if I’ve got something stuck in my teeth.
4. How often do you eat sugary foods between meals?
B. A few days every week.
C. Once a week.
5. Are your gums ever reddened, sore or prone to bleeding?
A. Yes, but I changed the way I cleaned my teeth and it cleared up.
B. No, my gums have always been healthy, firm and pink.
C. Yes, but I haven’t done anything about it.
6. Do you visit your dentist regularly?
A. Yes, I go as often as my dentist advises me to.
B. Very rarely, or never.
C. Only if I’ve got a dental complaint, like a sore tooth.
7. Do you smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol?
A. I smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol every day.
B. I smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol sometimes.
C. I don’t smoke and I limit how much alcohol I drink. Check how you’ve scored:Question 1
: Brushing with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day is the best way to protect your teeth. Tooth decay and gum disease are both associated with poor oral health habits. Decay is caused when the bacteria in plaque (a sticky film found on teeth) changes sugars into acids which attack the tooth surface. Gum disease is an infection caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth.Question 2
: Studies show that drinking fluoridated water reduces the risk of tooth decay. Water in many parts of world contains fluoride. Acidic and sugary drinks (including those which are artificially sweetened) increase the acid attack on teeth and should be limited to mealtimes (if you choose to drink them at all).Question 3
: Your toothbrush can’t always get into the tight crevices between teeth. A dentist or other oral health professional can advise you about cleaning between your teeth. Regular flossing is the best way to remove food and plaque from between tightly packed teeth. Flossing should be done before brushing – it is not an alternative to brushing.Question 4
: Sugary foods are associated with tooth decay. The sugars form acids which can attack the tooth surface. Try healthy snacks like cheese, fruit, vegetable sticks, plain popcorn, nuts and low salt soups. If you eat sugary foods, have them during mealtimes and clean your teeth afterwards.Question 5
: Gingivitis is early gum disease that occurs when dental plaque builds up on teeth, particularly where the gum joins the tooth. Common signs of gum disease are bleeding, redness and swelling of the gums. Thorough brushing and flossing is the best way to keep gums healthy. If your gums continue to bleed, seek professional advice.Question 6
: Regular check-ups are important to look after your teeth and gums. If tooth decay, gum disease and mouth cancers are picked up early, their progress can be controlled. Dental check-ups should start with toddlers at 12–18 months. Question 7
: Smoking cigarettes can cause gum disease and is linked to oral cancers. Smoking and drinking alcohol makes the risk much greater. Early detection may make treatment more successful, so regular check-ups are essential if you smoke and drink alcohol. Try to quit smoking and limit your alcohol consumption.
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