1. Visit the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend
It doesn't matter how old you are, or how many teeth you have, you should always follow your dentist's advice about how often they need to see you.
So why are check-ups so important? Well, for starters prevention is always better than cure. Regular visits to the dentist can identify problems developing early, and more importantly set you on a path to rectify them.
2. Take diet into consideration
One of the key messages is ‘cut down how often you have sugary foods and drinks'. This is a particularly important message for parents to remember. The more often your child has sugary or acidic foods or drinks, the more likely they are to have decay. It is therefore important to keep sugary and acidic foods to mealtimes only. Food and drinks which are kindest to teeth include cheese, crackers, breadsticks, raw vegetables, plain water and milk.
3. Brush your teeth twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste
It's important to brush your teeth first thing in the morning and just before you go to bed for two minutes using a fluoride toothpaste. Why? During the night the flow of saliva, which is the mouth's cleaning system, slows down. This leaves the mouth more at risk to decay; therefore brushing acts as a preventive measure.
Fluoride is an incredibly important addition to the toothpaste we use. There are different levels depending on how old you are.
4. Indulge in interdental cleaning
As brushing alone only cleans around two thirds of the mouth, it is important to use interdental brushes or floss to clean away any food debris caught between the teeth. It can help to reduce the risk of gum disease.
5. Remember the one hour rule
It takes an average of 40 minutes for the mouth to neutralise the acid caused by eating or drinking sugar. Therefore it is best to wait at least one hour after eating before brushing teeth. Eating or drinking weakens the enamel on the teeth, meaning if you brush too soon it cause tiny particles of the enamel to be brushed away.
6. Teeth are not tools!
Although you can't legislate for genuine accidents, please remember your teeth aren't tools. If your party trick is to open a bottle of beer with your teeth, or if you're always biting open the crisp packet, you're actually doing your teeth more harm than good.
7. Think about appearance
If you have a great oral hygiene routine, or even if you don't, there's no reason why you can't think about some cosmetic treatment to help brighten or restore your smile. People who smoke, drink red wine and lots of coffee may find over time their teeth become stained. There are toothpastes available that can remove these stains, but they won't alter the natural shade of your teeth. It's always best to have a good chat with your dentist about the options, which can include tooth whitening, crowns or veneers