10 Things Dentists Always Do to Prevent Tooth Decay

Tooth decay can make for complicated, expensive, and painful dental visits. Here's what dentists do to stay out of the dental chair.

Use a fluoride toothpaste

Toothbrush and toothpasteSensevan/Shutterstock

New York City-based dentist Lana Rozenberg, DDS, recommends giving your toothpaste label a read to make sure it contains fluoride. "Fluoride toothpaste protects from demineralization—which is when bacteria in the mouth combine with sugars to produce acid," she says. "This acid can erode tooth enamel and damage our teeth." Just make sure you're not making these toothbrushing mistakes.

Brush your teeth twice a day with an electric toothbrush

Dental care toolsMariusz Szczygiel/Shutterstock

Scott Asnis, DDS, the founder and CEO of Dental365, explains that keeping your pearly whites clean will ward off nasty bacteria. Dr. Asnis says studies have proven that electric toothbrushes clean teeth significantly better than regular ones. "Most electric toothbrushes have features that prevent brushing too hard, which, in turn, prevents accidentally damaging teeth and gums and causing gum recession," he notes. "As gums recede, the roots of the teeth become exposed resulting in hot and cold sensitivity, bone loss, and an increased risk of dental caries." For the best at-home teeth cleaning, here are the very best electric toothbrushes, according to the pros.

See your dentist at least once a year

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Do fear going to the dentist? You're not alone. One study estimated that up to 15 percent of Americans hesitate to schedule checkups thanks to a dental phobia. If you fall into this category, bring it up with your dentist (or find a new one), recommends dentist Haissam Dahan, DMD, MSc, PhD: "By going to your dentist regularly, they can find small or new cavities and offer treatments that can prevent cavities from getting bigger. These options can be a fluoride treatment, sealants to prevent cavities from growing, or using silver diamine fluoride which can stop cavities from growing." Check out these 37 secrets your dentist won't tell you.

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