Let us start with the obvious: twice daily brushing with a soft brush and a gentle brushing technique. It is important to spend plenty of time making sure ever tooth/molar is cleaned on every side. Use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. About a pea size quantity is more than enough. Do not rush it and do not use brute force. If you are wearing out your brushes rapidly you are doing damage to you gums and jaw bone. This will result in the gums gradually receding and, over time, the root surface eroding away. It is essential that the borderline between tooth and gum is cleaned thoroughly but make sure you do it gently. What helps a lot is to brush your teeth in a systematic way, for example, start on the outer upper surfaces of your right-hand molars and slowly work your way to the upper left. Then switch to the inside and slowly do the inner surfaces of the upper teeth. Then the chewing surfaces which completes the upper jaw. Give the lower jaw the same systematic treatment. By working your way through this sequence you avoid missing certain parts of your mouth completely every time you brush. We see it a lot so beware.
Floss your teeth once a day properly. This means that every contact point between your teeth will need to be accessed twice: once for each tooth. If you are unsure about the right technique please ask for a demonstration when you are in the surgery. Not flossing means you are leaving approximately 20% of the plaque behind exposing you to gum disease and tooth decay.
Avoid sticky and sugary foods. What is crucial is to understand how tooth decay arises. Whenever you eat or drink something containing sugar, the bacteria that make up the dental plaque can use this sugar and turn it into acid. It is this acid that actually decays the tooth. Your teeth have got the best chance if we can eliminate the plaque and reduce the sugar intake to a minimal number of times per day. This last point is important as it is the frequency of the sugar intake that is the clue here, not the quantity of the intake. A diluted low sugar drink still contains sugar and will eventually do harm if drunk often enough throughout the day.
Also, if you have eaten or drunk something acidic, do NOT brush your teeth immediately afterwards as you will rub away the demineralised enamel. Leave it for approximately 20 minutes to give your saliva the chance to remineralise.
Avoid abusing your teeth, like tearing plastics, prying open bottles or biting your nails. Although this may sound very obvious, it is frightening how often damage is done this way. You might even go as far as listing eating toffee and crackling under the tooth abuse heading.
Protect your teeth with a custom made mouth guard when playing sports. A mouth guard works only if it fits well because it transfers a sharp local impact onto a larger surface thereby giving the teeth more chance to survive the trauma. If the mouth guard does not fit, you will not get that transfer of pressure/impact and teeth are more likely to get damaged.
Attend for your 6-month examination regularly. If we can diagnose problems early they are much easier and cheaper to fix.