Drink fluoridated water and use a fluoride toothpaste.
Fluoride's protection against tooth decay works at all ages.
Take care of your teeth
and gums. Thorough tooth brushing and flossing to reduce dental plaque
can prevent gingivitis—the mildest form
of gum disease.
Avoid tobacco. In addition to the general health
risks posed by tobacco, smokers have 4 times the risk of developing
gum disease compared to non-smokers. Tobacco use in any form—cigarette, pipes,
and smokeless (spit) tobacco—increases the risk for gum disease,
oral and throat cancers, and oral fungal infection (candidiasis).
Spit tobacco containing sugar increases the risk of tooth decay.
Heavy use of alcohol is also a risk factor for oral and throat cancers.
When used alone, alcohol and tobacco are risk factors for oral cancers,
but when used in combination the effects of alcohol and tobacco are
Eat wisely. Adults should avoid snacks full of sugars
and starches. Limit the number of snacks eaten throughout the day.
The recommended five-a-day helping of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables
stimulates salivary flow to aid remineralization of tooth surfaces
with early stages of tooth decay.
Visit the dentist regularly. Check-ups
can detect early signs of oral health problems and can lead to treatments
that will prevent further damage, and in some cases, reverse the problem.
Professional tooth cleaning (prophylaxis) also is important for preventing
oral problems, especially when self-care is difficult.
should work to maintain control of their disease. This will help prevent
the complications of diabetes, including an increased risk of gum disease.
medications produce a dry mouth, ask your doctor if there are other
drugs that can be substituted. If dry mouth cannot be avoided, drink
plenty of water, chew sugarless gum, and avoid tobacco and alcohol.
an oral health check-up before beginning cancer treatment. Radiation
to the head or neck and/or chemotherapy may cause problems for your teeth
and gums. Treating existing oral health problems before cancer therapy
may help prevent or limit oral complications or tissue damage.