By the time you get a painful toothache or have to undergo a lengthy and costly dental procedure, it’s too late. Preventative strategies will save you pain and expense in the long run, and there’s no time to start like the present. Here are several essential elements of any preventative dental care strategy:

Brushing & Flossing

Visits to your dentist are very important, but the bulk of preventative care happens at home and is completely under your own control. Always make sure to brush your teeth twice every day and floss at least once per day. Brushing and flossing are key to removing food particles and bacteria from your mouth that might otherwise turn into plaque and tartar. Brushing and flossing prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that helps to prevent tooth decay and strengthen teeth. If you live in the city of Ottawa and most big cities in Canada, you can get most of your required fluoride from fluoridated drinking. You should also supplement this with fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses to ensure you are getting enough.

Food & Drink

When it comes to preventative strategies, you need to know what foods to enjoy and which to avoid. Eat foods rich in calcium and phosphorous, especially dairy products. The nutrients found in these foods will help strengthen your enamel, while crunchy vegetables can help clean off your teeth and stimulate saliva production. Drinking plenty of water is always recommended. Avoid acidic foods like citrus, carbonated beverages, coffee, sticky candy, chips, and anything else high in sugar. These bad foods contribute to tooth decay and act as fuel for bacteria.

Mouth Guards

If you are active in sports, investing in a custom-formed mouth guard is an important preventative step. A mouth guard protects your delicate teeth and saves you from the stress of intense dental procedures to repair broken or missing teeth. If you deal with teeth grinding, a mouth guard can also save you from tooth wear and reduce your likelihood of developing temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.

Regular Dental Cleanings

Even with a diligent home oral hygiene routine, you can’t prevent all plaque build-up. Visit your dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning. At the same time, your dentist will inspect your mouth for signs of tooth decay or gum disease. The earlier these conditions are spotted, the more swiftly treatment can be applied.

Between regular visits to your dentists and attentive care at home, you can protect your smile and avoid many painful dental conditions.