children teeth.jpgWorld Oral Health Day (WOHD) is celebrated globally every year on March 20.

It is organized by FDI World Dental Federation and is the largest global awareness campaign on oral health.

WOHD spreads messages about good oral hygiene practices to adults and children alike and demonstrates the importance of optimal oral health in maintaining general health and well-being.

Each year, WOHD focuses on a specific theme and reaches out to the public, oral health professionals, and policymakers, who all have a role to play in helping reduce the burden of oral disease.

Annie Brooks, Cumbria Oral Health Improvement Lead, said: “The aim of the Cumbria Oral Health Improvement Team is to keep everyone smiling for life. You may see Smile4Life in nurseries and at your health visitor, in special schools, pharmacies and even in your local care home.

“Good oral health includes our teeth, gums and whole mouth.”

 It has an enormous impact on our lives and can affect the following:

  • Self-esteem – feeling good about oneself
  • Eating – being able to eat a healthy diet
  • Speech – being able to speak and communicate effectively
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Links with diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease

Most dental decay and gum problems are preventable!

Everyone can have good oral health by following these top tips:

  • Brush your teeth and gums last thing at night and at least one other time each day.
  • Brush babies teeth as soon as their first tooth appears
  • Use a smear of toothpaste for 0-3 year olds and a pea-sized amount from 3 years
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste containing no less than 1000ppm of fluoride for 0-3 year olds
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste containing 1350-1500ppm of fluoride for those over 3 years old.
  • Brush all surfaces of all teeth and pay particular attention to where the gum and teeth meet (gum margin)
  • Clean between the teeth using floss or interdental brushes – ask your dentist or hygienist about when and how to do this.
  • Spit excess toothpaste but do not rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash as this reduces the concentration and effectiveness of the fluoride in the toothpaste.
  • Don’t forget that children need help to brush teeth until they are at least 7 years old.

Top Tip: Visit your dentist regularly

  • Visit your dentist as often as they recommend – the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry promotes children should be seen by a dentist by the age of one.
  • April 2019-20 NHS Charges are as follows:
    • Band 1 - £22.70
    • Band 2 - £62.10
    • Band 3 - £269.30

Who gets free NHS dental treatment?

    • Children 0 -19 years receive free NHS dental treatment if in full-time education
    • Some other exemptions apply such as those in receipt of certain benefits, expectant mothers and for the first year after having a baby.

To find out more about how to find a dentist, NHS dental charges and exemptions visit

  • For a dental emergency Monday –Friday 8.30am-6pm contact:

North Cumbria Tel 01228 603900

South Cumbria Tel 01539 716822

Outside of these hours contact NHS 111

  • Ask your dentist about fluoride varnish – it should be applied to all children’s teeth twice a year from the age of 3 years.

Top Tip: Limit how much and how frequently you have sugary foods and drinks

  • Keep sugary foods and drinks to mealtimes – this includes dried fruit, fruit juices and smoothies
  • Drink milk and water between meals
  • Check food labels carefully – visit Change4Life at

Get the free Food Scanner App

Top Tip: Do not smoke and keep alcohol to recommended limits

  • Alcohol and smoking increase your risk of developing mouth cancer – if you notice anything unusual in your mouth such as an ulcer that doesn’t heal within 3 weeks, red or white patches, unusual lumps/swellings, get it checked out by your dentist or doctor. Early detection saves lives.
  • Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week.

If you would like more information, contact the Cumbria Oral Health Improvement Team:

Annie Brooks at or call 01228 603956.