Dental Health

Good oral health plays an important role in your overall health. Keeping your teeth healthy throughout your life requires daily dental care, regular dental checkups from an early age and a healthy diet.

Dental programs and clinics

Huron Perth Public Health offers dental screenings and clinics.

Healthy Smiles Ontario is a free dental program for eligible children and youth 17 years old and under from low-income households. 

The Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program provides free, routine dental services for eligible low-income seniors. Apply online or pick up an application form at our Stratford (West Gore) or Clinton offices. Contact us for more information. 

Fluoride and dental health

Dental decay can damage your teeth and cause cavities. Fluoride is a mineral that is important in preventing cavities.

In some parts of Huron and Perth counties, fluoride is found naturally in the groundwater. Many communities in Canada, including Goderich, add fluoride to the local water supply to help prevent teeth from developing cavities. Huron Perth Public Health supports the fluoridation of municipal water.

You can also get fluoride from food and dental products like toothpaste and mouthwash. You should:

  • Use a small amount of toothpaste (pea size)
  • Brush 2 to 3 times per day
  • Rinse your mouth after brushing
  • Use mouthwash once a day and don't swallow

Testing water for fluoride

If you live in a municipality or get your water from a communal water supply, your water has already been tested for fluoride. Contact your municipality to find out the fluoride level.

If you have your own well and are expecting a baby or have children under the children age of 7, you should get your water tested for fluoride. Contact a licensed laboratory in Ontario to get your water tested. If the fluoride level in your water is more than 1.5 mg/L and you have young children, follow these recommendations for preventing fluorosis:

  • Consider using water with a lower fluoride level from another source for drinking and cooking
  • If you have decided to give your baby/child infant formula, use another source of water to prepare the formula or use prepared, ready-to-use formula instead.

Dental health at every age

It is never too early to start practicing healthy oral hygiene. Learn best practices for dental health at every age.

Children

First teeth, or baby teeth, help your child eat and speak. They also hold space for adult teeth and help guide them into the correct position. Your child should brush their teeth twice daily for 2 minutes each time. “2 for 2” is all it takes to get good dental habits started.

You can prevent tooth decay in your child by:

  • Wiping your baby's teeth and gums with a clean cloth or small soft toothbrush after feeding
  • Checking your child's teeth regularly for decay (if you see white or brown spots, take your child to a dentist)
  • Taking your child to a dental professional by one year of age or within 6 months of getting their first tooth
  • If you offer sugary food and drinks, offer them at meals and snack times. Eating these types of food throughout the day increases the chances of cavities.
  • Offering only water between meals and snacks.
  • Using a smear of non-fluoride toothpaste or no toothpaste when your toddler brushes their teeth, until they turn 3. At age 3, or when your child can spit, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

Adults

Practice regular oral hygiene to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Visit the Canadian Dental Association for more information on dental health. Here are a few dental health tips:

  • Brush and floss your teeth daily
  • Use fluoride as recommended by your dentist and dental hygienist
  • Have regular dental check-ups
  • Limit sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks to prevent tooth decay

Seniors

As you age, you should continue practicing regular oral hygiene. Older adults can have unique dental issues. If you find it difficult to hold a toothbrush or floss, talk to your dental professional about finding an easier way that will work for you, like using an electric toothbrush.

Do you have dentures? Your false teeth need as much care as natural teeth. To keep germs and infections away:

  • Take your dentures out every night
  • Brush (without toothpaste) and rinse them
  • Soak them overnight, in denture cleaner or warm water