Prevention Information

Prevention is essential to avoiding dental problems. These tips will show you the best ways to practice good oral hygiene as well as to help prevent many dental problems.

Brushing

Brushing your teeth is essential to avoiding dental problems.

Flossing

Flossing your teeth is essential to good oral hygiene.

Fluoride

Fluoride can help to prevent cavities. Be sure to always use a toothpaste containing fluoride for extra protection against tooth decay.

Check Ups

Routine dental checkups, x-rays and cleanings are essential in preventing many dental problems.

Nutrition

Proper nutrition and healthy snacks play an important role in good oral health.

Additional Tips

Brush After Eating or Drinking

Brush your teeth at least twice a day and ideally after every meal, using fluoride-containing toothpaste. To clean between your teeth, floss or use an interdental cleaner. If you can't brush after eating, at least try to rinse your mouth with water.

Rinse Your Mouth

If your dentist feels you have a high risk of developing cavities, he or she may recommend that you use a mouth rinse with fluoride.

Routine Dental Visits

Get professional tooth cleanings and regular oral exams, which can help prevent problems or spot them early. Your dentist can recommend a schedule that's best for your situation.

Dental Sealants

A sealant is a protective plastic coating that's applied to the chewing surface of back teeth — sealing off the grooves and crannies that tend to collect food in the teeth most likely to get cavities. The sealant protects tooth enamel from plaque and acid. Sealants can help both children and adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommends sealants for all school-age children. Sealants last up to 10 years before they need to be replaced, though they need to be checked regularly to ensure they're still intact.

Drink Tap Water

Adding fluoride to public water supplies has helped decrease tooth decay significantly. If you drink only bottled water that doesn’t contain fluoride, you'll miss out on its benefits. Be sure to drink some tap water, too.

Avoid Frequent Snakcing and Sipping

Whenever you eat or drink something other than water, you help your mouth bacteria create acids that can destroy your tooth enamel. If you snack or drink throughout the day, your teeth are under constant attack.

Eat Tooth-Healthy Foods

Some foods and beverages are better for your teeth than others. Avoid foods that get stuck in grooves and pits of your teeth for long periods, such as chips, candy or cookies. Instead, eat food that protects your teeth, such as cheese, which some research shows may help prevent cavities, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, which increase saliva flow, and unsweetened coffee, tea and sugar-free gum, which help wash away food particles.

Fluoride Treatments

Your dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment, especially if you aren't getting enough fluoride through fluoridated drinking water and other sources. In a fluoride treatment, your dentist applies concentrated fluoride to your teeth for several minutes. You can also use fluoridated toothpaste or mouthwash.