1. Brush and floss.
Brush at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste for two minutes; this cleans 60% of the tooth surfaces and fluoride is proven to reduce tooth decay by 50%.
Floss once per day; this is important for children and adults. A significant portion of dental decay occurs in between teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach.
You may want to check your technique with your dentist or hygienist and consider using a good quality electric brush if your technique is not proving effective.
2.Eat a healthy diet.
You can dramatically impact your dental health by eating a well-balanced and healthy diet.
Research has shown that poor nutrition jeopardises our oral health and puts us at risk for a number of serious dental problems.
Your diet should include plenty of unprocessed foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, wholegrains, fish and lean meat.
Sugar is well known to contribute to dental decay and while fruit, vegetables and dairy products contain natural sugars they also contain fibre and other nutrients that make them healthier than packaged and processed foods.
Limit the amount of cakes, biscuits and sugary desserts you eat, perhaps choose something less sweet, say, cheese and nuts.
It is the frequency of eating sugar, not the quantity that leads to tooth decay so try to restrict eating sugary treats with meals.
Read the ingredient list on packaged foods to see where the sugars are from. Naturally occurring sugars in dried or whole fruits are better for you than added sugars.
3. Reduce acids by drinking more water.
Acids in the mouth are produced from the combination of oral bacteria and sugars or simple carbs.
Limit the consumption of soft drinks, juices, wines, beers and sports drinks and drink water in between meals.
Even diet drinks, which do not contain sugar, are harmful due to their acidic effect and they will also erode tooth enamel.
Drinking water provides a buffering effect and helps keep your mouth hydrated.
4. Maybe a nightguard.
Many people are unaware they grind their teeth, often at night but sometimes during the day too.
Stress is a key factor and you may have episodes where the habit is worse.
Grinding or clenching (called bruxism) can lead to multiple problems including cracked teeth, gum recession, headaches and facial pain.
A nightguard could be a simple solution.
5. Ask your dentist about dental sealants.
Sealants are a thin plastic resin placed over the biting surface of your teeth.
By covering the deep grooves, which can be hard to clean, you are protecting them from decay.
Sealants are quick and simple to place.
6. Visit your dentist
See your dentist every six months for a professional examination and cleaning.
This is the best way to safeguard your teeth.
Article by Dr Alison Roberts
Dr Alison Roberts is a British trained dentist.
For appointments call Smilefocus on 6733 9882