1. Brush Your Teeth Daily. The most important part of preventive dentistry is to brush your teeth daily with fluoride toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Most people should replace their toothbrushes three to four times per year or as the bristles start to fray.

  2. Brush your tongue. This will help remove bacteria from your mouth and also help freshen your breath.

  3. Floss Daily. Daily flossing is also recommended. Flossing helps to clean out the tight spaces between the teeth. If you have braces, you may need to use floss threaders to get between the metal brackets.

    To get the most benefit out of flossing, you’ll want to make sure you’re flossing in the correct way. At your next dental appointment, ask us dentist for a quick flossing demonstration to make sure you’re getting the full benefit from using this tool.

  4. Visit Your Dentist. You should see your dentist at least once per year for an exam and see your hygienist at least twice per year for prophylaxis to check for any problems in the teeth or gums. If you’re at a high risk for dental problems, you’ll likely benefit from more frequent dental visits. Dental prophylaxis and exams allow dentists to identify problems and take care of them right away.

  5. Eat a Balanced Diet. Eating a balanced diet also helps to protect your teeth by providing them with the nutrients they need. Limit your sugar intake, including simple carbohydrates like white bread, and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

  6. Vitamins are important for oral health. Eating a varied diet will help you to get all of the vitamins you need to maintain a healthy smile.

  7. Do not smoke. Smoking harms the body's immune system, which makes it difficult for the body to heal tissues, including those in the mouth. The CDC name smoking as a risk factor for gum disease, while the ADA warn that people who smoke may experience slow healing after a dental procedure.

  8. Consider a mouthwash. Some studies indicate that certain mouthwashes can benefit oral health. For example, one review found that mouthwash containing chlorhexidine, an antibacterial ingredient, helps control plaque and gingivitis.

  9. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the number one source of added sugars in the typical diet of those in the U.S. Sipping on soda, juice, or other sugary drinks can lead to a higher risk of cavities.

  10. Use Fluoride. Lack of fluoride can lead to tooth decay, even if a person takes care of their teeth otherwise. Many communities in the United States have added fluoride to their water supply. But many bottled water brands do not contain fluoride.

    When it comes to toothpaste, there are more important elements to look for than whitening power and flavors. No matter which version you choose, make sure it contains fluoride.