•Good oral health is important for your whole wellbeing.

Looking after your teeth is important at any age. It helps you enjoy your food, smile with confidence and feel good about yourself. But it’s not just teeth, your gums are important too.

Gum disease arises when you don’t clean your teeth properly and allow plaque to build up. Plaque contains harmful bacteria and can irritate your gums when it builds up along the gum – line. Hardened plaque is called tartar and is removed by the dentist or hygienist when you have a thorough teeth clean. If not treated, gum disease gets worse, affects the structures holding your teeth in place, and could mean teeth become loose or fall out.

The good news

The best way to ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy is to brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and clean gaps between your teeth using floss or interdental brushes. Whether you have your own teeth or wear dentures, it’s important to see your dentist regularly for a check – up. If you don’t have a dentist, go to WWW.nhs.uk and search for ‘Dentist’ to find an NHS dentist in your area.

Clean sweep

Tips for better brushing:

• It doesn’t matter whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush as long as you clean your teeth thoroughly. Some people find an electric one easier.

• Choose a brush with soft or medium bristles and if it has a small head, it is likely to be easier to move around your mouth.

• Brush the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of your teeth thoroughly, which should take about two minutes.

• If bristles become frayed or splayed out, they won’t work effectively, so that’s the time to buy a new brush or brush head. Your dentist can advise how often to do this.

 

An eye test doesn’t just check to see whether you need glasses – it’s also a vital check on the health of your eyes.

Everyone aged 60 and over qualifies for a free NHS-funded sight test every 2 years – if you are under 60, you may still be eligible for a free test.

A sight test checks your vision straight ahead, as well as your peripheral vision. The test also looks for age – related changes, as well as eye conditions such as cataracts, age – related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma, which can lead to sight loss.

These conditions can be detected at an early stage, usually before you ‘ve even noticed that anything is wrong.

How often should I get my eyes tested?

You should have an eye test every 2 years or as often as your optician advises.

Make sure you get a regular check, regardless of whether you live at home or in a care home, even if you think your sight is fine. If you notice any changes in your vision, get it checked as soon as possible.

If you’re not happy with the service from your optician, talk to them first. If this doesn’t resolve things contact the Optical Complaints Service.