Campaigns & activities The Truth About Tooth Decay Preventing tooth decay Despite tooth decay being very common, it is easily preventable. Having a healthy mouth and being free of oral disease is in your hands. All it takes is the correct care. Some top tips for preventing tooth decay: Cut down on how much sugar (or carbohydrates) you have and how often you have it. Brush your teeth last thing at night and at one other time during the day. Choose a 1450ppm fluoride toothpaste as an effective way for you to prevent tooth decay. Your dentist may prescribe you a toothpaste with a higher fluoride content if you are at increased risk of tooth decay. Avoid rinsing your mouth out with water after brushing. Instead spit out the toothpaste. This makes sure the fluoride stays on your teeth. Caring for your teeth Brushing your teeth thoroughly last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a 1450ppm fluoride toothpaste is the most effective way to prevent tooth decay. Make sure that you brush the inner, outer and biting surfaces of your teeth and along the gumline. This should take around two minutes. Using ‘interdental' brushes, or dental floss or tape, also helps to remove plaque from between your teeth and where they meet the gums. These are areas an ordinary toothbrush can't reach. Cut down on how much and how often you have sugar and carbohydrates Have sugary foods and drinks less often. Avoid having unhealthy snacks between meals, to limit the number of times your teeth are under attack from plaque. Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal can help your mouth produce more saliva, which helps to cancel out any acids that have formed. You also want to avoid sugar before going to bed. This is because you produce less saliva while you sleep. Without a healthy production of saliva, tooth decay is more likely. Be mindful of medications that contain sugar and seek the advice from a GP for sugar-free alternatives. Visiting your dental team Visiting your dental team regularly, as often as they recommend, can help you manage your oral health, including how to prevent tooth decay. This is because your dental team can spot tooth decay in the early stages and treat the condition before it has a chance to worsen. Without this intervention, a cavity will need a filling, or in more severe cases, the tooth removed entirely. They can also help you with advice and information to help you care for your mouth at home. They can show you correct cleaning techniques, advise you on what products to use, and give guidance about how your diet and lifestyle may be affecting your oral health. Fluoride Fluoride is a mineral that can be naturally found in many foods and in all drinking water. The amount of fluoride in water varies from area to area. Fluoride can greatly help dental health by strengthening the tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay. Most of our fluoride, however, is found in toothpaste. When buying toothpaste, make sure it contains fluoride. Sometimes, your dental team might choose to give you a prescription for a toothpaste that contains higher levels of fluoride. They may do this if you have any of the signs associated with tooth decay or are at increased risk of tooth decay. This campaign is delivered by the Oral Health Foundation, a charity creating healthier communities by delivering better oral health. The campaign is sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive.