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Oral Health

Poor oral health

Oral health is poor in Manchester and tooth decay continues to affect children and young people’s lives although it is largely preventable. Poor oral health is strongly linked to social deprivation and is caused by the frequency and amount of sugar in the diet, lack of hygiene and exposure to fluoride. It can have an impact on general health and quality of life as it can affect the ability to eat, speak and socialise. Other impacts include pain, poor diet and impaired nutrition and growth.

Four key oral health messages

To promote good oral health there are four key messages:

1. Diet

Reduce the consumption and especially the frequency of intake of drinks, confectionery and foods with sugars.

  • The consumption of sugars both the frequency and the amount is important in determining the risk of tooth decay
  • When sugars are consumed they should be part of a meal rather than between meals
  • Snacks and drinks should be free of added sugars whenever possible
  • The frequent consumption of acidic drinks (such as fruit juice, squashes or carbonated drinks) should be avoided to help prevent dental erosion.

2. Toothbrushing

 Clean the teeth thoroughly twice every day with fluoride toothpaste.

  • Effective daily toothbrushing with family fluoride toothpaste will help prevent both tooth decay and gum disease
  • Other oral hygiene aids such as floss and interdental brushes are best used after they have been demonstrated by a dentist, therapist or hygienist
  • Thorough brushing of all tooth surfaces and along the gum line twice every day is of more value than more frequent but less effective brushing, and a gentle circular motion should be advised
  • A small soft-to-medium toothbrush should be used to allow all tooth surfaces and gums to be cleaned easily and comfortably
  • Effective toothbrushing with family fluoride toothpaste will help prevent tooth decay, provided that sugar is also kept to mealtimes.

3. Fluoride

Fluoridation of the water supply is a safe and highly effective public health measure.

There is currently no fluoride in the Manchester water supply. In its absence other fluoride strategies are employed, such as a programme to promote the use of fluoride toothpaste.

4. Dental attendance

Have an oral examination every year.

Everyone, irrespective of age and dental condition, should have an oral examination at least once a year so that cases of oral cancer or other oral diseases can be detected early and treated.

This advice also applies to those without any natural teeth.

Children and those at risk from oral diseases including smokers may need to be seen more frequently, as advised by the dentist.

National advice and information

NHS Choices - National dental advice and information.

If you are looking for a new NHS dentist please call 111 or use the link above. 

Local advice and Information

If you have dental pain or swelling and need urgent care between the hours of 8am-6pm please call 0161 476 9649.


Between the hours of 6pm -10pm and on weekends and bank holidays please call 0161 337 2246.