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Oral health

Looking after your oral health is important and it's not just about keeping your teeth looking nice.

Oral health can have an impact on a wide range of different issues including nutrition, school attendance, sleep patterns and general health and wellbeing too.

Search for an NHS dentist close to you. You don't need to register with one in the same way as a GP.

If you need a dentist urgently, the NHS 111 service will help you find emergency dental treatment.

Healthwatch Derbyshire have some advice If you're finding it hard to get a dental appointment.

You can also find out more about how to care for your teeth, mouth and gums, at every stage of life.


Caring for your teeth, gums and oral health in pregnancy.

Babies and toddlers

NHS dental treatment for children is free so take your child for their first appointment as soon as their first milk tooth comes through.

Getting into a good routine from the start is the best way to keep your children’s teeth and gums healthy and can help prevent problems from occurring. Here are the key things you need to know:

  • start brushing your baby's teeth as soon as they start to come through. First teeth usually appear around 4 to 6 months, but they can arrive sooner or later
  • by around the age of 3, children should have all 20 baby teeth. It is important to brush for at least 2 minutes, twice a day
  • try to do it just before bed and at another time that fits in with your routine such as first thing in the morning before breakfast
  • use a family toothpaste specially for children. This will contain at least 1,000ppm (parts per million) of fluoride. You can check this on the ingredients list on the tube
  • for children under 3-years-old, use a grain of rice sized amount of toothpaste. For children aged 3 and over, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste
  • supervise brushing your child's teeth until they are at least 7-years-old and they are able to do it properly themselves
  • check you have brushed all the tooth's surfaces and also where the gum meets the tooth as this bit can often get missed
  • encourage your child to spit the toothpaste out afterwards but do not rinse out your child's mouth with water after brushing as this will wash away the fluoride
  • if you want to swap to using an electric toothbrush then your child should be at least 3-years-old for safety reasons

Get more advice on how to look after your baby's teeth.

Derbyshire Family Health Service also has advice and help for looking after your 0 to 5-year-old's oral health.

You can watch several short animations about a variety of children's oral health topics on our YouTube channel.


NHS teething information.


Smile4Life is Derbyshire Community Health Service's supervised toothbrushing programme. It offers children the chance to have additional toothbrushing sessions, which help them to develop toothbrushing as a life skill.

If you work with young children in areas of deprivation where funded 2-year-old childcare is taken up, then you can register your interest in taking part.

To find out more and ask to join, email:

Older children

The NHS has advice on taking care of your children's teeth.

Derbyshire Family Health Service also has advice and help about looking after your children's teeth.

The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry

The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD) is the national society dedicated to improving the oral health of children from birth to 16.

You can find lots of advice on how to care for your children's teeth as they grow on their website.

The BSPD have a guide for parents of children with autism.


There's plenty of advice about how healthy diets can help improve the health of your mouth.

And guidance on the best way to keep your mouth healthy, including how long to clean your teeth for, how often and what type of brush to use.

Find out how often to visit your dentist and why it is so important.

Take a look at our short animation about how to care for your teeth and prevent oral health problems.


Smoking is a big risk factor for mouth cancer and gum disease (periodontitis). Stopping smoking will really benefit your oral health and reduce your risk of oral cancer and gum disease.

We offer free stop smoking support at Live Life Better Derbyshire, tel: 0800 085 2299.

The NHS has lots of tips to help you quit smoking.


Alcohol is also a big risk factor for mouth cancer. Sugary alcoholic drinks cause tooth decay, and acidic alcoholic drinks such as wine also damage your teeth by acid erosion which can lead to tooth sensitivity.

Older adults

Support for oral health as you get older.

Help with dental costs

If you're on a low income or certain benefits then you might be eligible for the NHS Low Income Scheme. You can find out more about the scheme, as well as NHS dental charges on the NHS website.

People with learning disabilities and special needs

If you work with, or care for, someone with a learning disability then they may need some help with putting in place, and maintaining, a good oral health regime.

Find out more about dental care for people with special needs.

Special Smiles Programme

Derbyshire Community Health Service's Special Smiles Programme involves supervised toothbrushing to help reduce the risk of gum disease and dental decay, for children and young people who have additional needs.

The Oral Health Promotion Team

Derbyshire Community Health Service's Oral Health Promotion team work to improve the health of Derbyshire's teeth, gums and general mouth health.

They run specific programmes for looked after children, young people with additional needs and they also help to offer support and advice around older people's oral health too.

Find out more about the work of the oral health promotion team.

Let's talk teeth email bulletins

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