Taking care of your teeth is more than just having a pretty smile. Healthy teeth and good oral hygiene are important to your general health. You may not be able to eat all of the nutritious foods that you eat if you have sore, broken or decaying teeth. Gum disease can lead to more serious issues including endocarditis, a potentially life-threatening infection of the heart. It is far easier to prevent cavities than it is to treat them, so learn these simple oral hygiene tips so your teeth stay healthy.

Brush Well, Brush Often

One of the easiest and best ways to protect your teeth is to brush at least twice per day. Brushing immediately after waking up not only gives you fresher breath to start the day but also whisks away bacteria that have settled on the surface of your teeth overnight. You should also be brushing after every meal with one caveat. Instead of brushing immediately, wait for around thirty minutes or so if possible. If you can’t brush at all rinse your mouth with water or make the last part of your meal hard cheese or raisins which can protect your teeth from harmful, cavity causing agents.

Upgrade to Fluoride Toothpaste and Mouthwash

Ask your dentist for recommendations for the best toothpastes and mouthwashes for your particular needs but in general, a fluoride additive will be a good defense against cavities even if you have an exceptionally sweet tooth.

Floss Every Day

If you only brush twice a day, take the time to floss thoroughly at least one of those times. While careful brushing is important it cannot get the bacteria, plaque and food particles that get between your teeth. Make sure that flossing is a part of your daily routine no matter what you have to do. If you prefer them you can buy pre-strung floss picks that you can carry in pocket or purse so that you always have one available to you.

Ask Your Dentist About Sealants

Although they are often suggested for children, most adults could benefit from the application of dental sealants as well. These protective coatings are painted on to the chewing surfaces of the big teeth in back and help to prevent cavities when coupled with good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups. Sealants are not permanent and must be reapplied at regular intervals.

Minimize the Time Sugar is in Contact With Your Teeth

Sugar is not only bad for your health and waistline it can ravage your teeth as well. Sugary drinks wash over your teeth and may bond with plaque to cause cavities quickly. If you have to drink sodas or other high sugar beverages, do so with a straw to help minimize the amount of contact the liquid makes with your teeth. Finish with a swish of clear water once you are done for added protection.

See Your Dentist as Directed

The average adult should have a cleaning and general dental checkup twice a year. If you are at risk for cavities and other issues, your dentist may suggest that you come in more frequently. Make sure that you follow any tips and suggestions that are offered to you and never skip checkups even if you feel pretty confident that your teeth are in “good” shape.