Soft drinks-even the sugar-free ones-contain acid that erodes tooth enamel. If you must, drink them quickly and use a straw to avoid extended contact with your teeth.

Living Healthy

Diet and exercise play an important part in keeping us healthy. But did you know that a healthy mouth is also an important part of a healthy body?

Oral health is part of your overall health. With a healthy mouth you can eat, speak and smile in comfort, which helps you feel physically, socially and mentally well. A healthy mouth helps you enjoy life.

Oral disease, like any other disease, needs to be treated. A chronic infection, including one in the mouth, is a serious problem that should not be ignored. Yet bleeding or tender gums are often overlooked. As part of a healthy lifestyle and to help reduce the risk of oral disease, follow CDA's five steps to good oral health. Download the poster.

5 Steps to a Healthy Mouth

Oral Heath Good for Life title image

1. See your dentist regularly

  • Regular dental exams and professional cleanings are the best way to prevent and detect problems before they get worse.
  • Don't wait for a toothache or a dental emergency to look for a dentist. Ask for recommendations from friends, family, neighbours, or co-workers. If you're moving, ask if your current dentist can refer you to a dentist in your new area.
  • Check out these tips for finding a dentist.

2. Choose a variety of healthy foods and drinks each day

  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Good nutrition helps build strong teeth and gums.
  • Limit foods and beverages containing sugar, sodium, carbohydrates or saturated fats.
  • Make water your drink of choice.
  • Limit drinking alcohol.
  • Munch on mouth-healthy snacks like cheeses, nuts, vegetables, and non-acidic fruits.

3. Check your mouth regularly

Look for signs of gum disease:

  • Red, shiny, puffy, sore or sensitive gums
  • Bleeding when you brush or floss
  • Bad breath that won't go away

Look for signs of oral cancer:

  • Bleeding or open sores that don't heal
  • White or red patches
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Small lumps and thickening on the sides or bottom of your tongue, the floor or roof of your mouth, the inside of your cheeks, or on your gums

4. Limit alcohol, and avoid smoking, smokeless tobacco and vaping

  • Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Canada.
  • Smoking tobacco can affect the appearance and health of your mouth and gums. Smokeless tobacco ("snuff", "spit" or chewing tobacco), is held in the mouth between the teeth and cheek.
  • By giving up tobacco, you can dramatically reduce your chance of developing a range of health conditions.
  • Talk to your dentist about how tobacco is affecting your oral and overall health. Check out these quit supports and tips for living smoke, tobacco and vape free.

5. Keep your mouth clean

  • Brush twice a day using a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Wait at least 20–30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth.
  • Floss every day. After flossing, roll it up in a tiny ball and put it in the garbage. Never flush floss down the toilet.
  • Look for oral care products bearing the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) Seal.