The number of patients seeking dental advice from GPs is increasing. The treatment of dental problems is not the responsibility of GPs and people should contact their Pharmacist for simple mouth ulcers and teething, and a dentist for toothache, gum problems, wisdom teeth and bleeding from the gums. If your dental practice is not open or you cannot get an appointment ring 111 to find your local urgent or emergency dental services. In severe circumstances (severe swelling leading to problems with opening the mouth, swallowing or fever) go to the nearest accident and emergency department.
Here's how you and your children can have healthy teeth and keep trips to the dentist to a minimum:
Brush your teeth twice a day
Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Read more in our teeth cleaning guide.
Floss between your teeth
Floss or use an interdental brush every day to remove food, debris and plaque lodged between your teeth. Read more about why it's important to floss.
Cut down on sugar - and other lifestyle tips
Have a healthy lifestyle, including eating well, not smoking and limiting your alcohol and sugar intake. It's good for your whole body, including your teeth, gums and mouth. Read more about why a healthy lifestyle is good for your teeth.
Brush baby teeth as soon as they come through
Start brushing a baby's teeth as soon as they come through. Here are tips on how to look after baby teeth, including the importance of avoiding sweetened foods and drinks.
Get children into a teeth-cleaning routine
Help your child have healthy teeth for life by having a good dental health routine. Read more about how to look after your children's teeth.
Straighten crooked teeth with braces
More and more teenagers (and some adults) are having braces and orthodontics to straighten their teeth. Find out about getting braces.
Have regular dental check-ups
Have regular check-ups with your dentist. Don't put off going for a check-up. Detecting problems early can mean they're easier to treat. If problems are not treated, they may lead to damage that is harder, or even impossible, to repair. Read more about dental check-ups.
Don't delay with dental treatments
There are a wide range of dental treatments available. Some, such as fillings and root canal treatment, are readily available on the NHS. Others, such as cosmetic dentistry, are only available on the NHS in certain circumstances. Find out about dental treatments.
For information on who can get free dentistry, how to find an NHS dentist and what to expect from your dentist, see NHS dental services.