Preventive Steps for a Healthy Smile

Preventive Steps for a Healthy Smile

Preventive Steps for a Healthy Smile

We are all born with a healthy mouth. That part we know. But how do we maintain proper oral hygiene over a lifetime? Are brushing and flossing the main to-dos or are there more? Below are some best practices to keep your mouth looking (and smelling) healthy.

Brush Your Teeth Regularly

According to the FDI World Dental Federation, “Dental caries (cavities) is the most common chronic disease in the world – due to exposure to sugar and other risks – and is a major global public health problem affecting individuals, health systems and economies.” Furthermore, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Although largely preventable, dental caries and periodontal disease are the two biggest threats to oral health and are among the most common chronic diseases in the United States. Dental caries is the most common chronic disease in children: it is about five times as common as asthma and seven times as common as hay fever.”

Simply put – cavities are a common problem that we will most likely experience during our lifetime. But the most important thing to remember is they are highly preventable with daily habits, like brushing. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. Also, make sure to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.

Most people remember to brush their teeth in the morning (hello morning-breath), but then forget to brush before going to bed. Studies show that falling asleep before brushing gives the bad bacteria in your mouth more time to release acids causing tooth decay. It also gives soft plaque more time to harden, making it harder to remove by brushing.

For a guide on proper brushing technique, check out this How To Brush tutorial. We could all use a refresher!


Another important step for a healthy smile is flossing. Seems like the obvious next step after brushing, right? Believe it or not, according to a 2018 study in Periodontology, only 32 percent of Americans floss every day, while another 32 percent never floss. Cleaning between your teeth (with floss) has proven to disrupt and remove plaque hard to reach with a brush. The ADA continues to recommend brushing for two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner.

Fluoridated Water

While brushing and flossing seem like no-brainers, did you ever consider the glass of tap water on your desk a preventative measure? Over 70 years ago water fluoridation was initiated which provides drinkers consistent contact with low levels of fluoride in drinking water. According to the CDC, drinking fluoridated water keeps teeth strong and reduces cavities by about 25% in children and adults. CDS states water fluoridation is one of the top public health wins of the 20th century.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Another top-ranking step in preventative care for a healthy mouth is visiting your dentist at least once a year (the ADA recommends every six months). Even if your dental health seems satisfactory, it’s important to have your dentist perform regular check-ups. Experts say that your mouth is a window into your overall health, and your dentist is often the first person to detect problems.  For example, systemic diseases like diabetes may first become apparent because of oral issues. And if periodontal disease is diagnosed it could be linked to other health problems like cardiovascular disease.

A few final recommendations to protect your oral health are limiting alcoholic drinks consumed, if you smoke then consider quitting, and finally, setting healthy eating goals that limit sugary drinks and snacks. We all have vices, but these are particularly hard on our dental health. Consider giving them up and giving your mouth a fresh start this year.