Good dental health can prevent tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss. It also can help you maintain a bright, beautiful smile throughout your life. The key is to develop healthy habits and practice them consistently. Here are seven essential habits you should incorporate into your daily routine to keep your natural teeth as healthy as possible:


It is important to floss at least once per day to remove food particles stuck in between your teeth. Flossing removes plaque, which bacteria feed on, and can help prevent tooth decay. Aim to floss for at least two minutes each time, and be sure to include the top and chewing surfaces of your teeth.


Aim to brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and apply gentle pressure to your teeth. Make sure to clean all sides of your teeth and the chewing surfaces, as well as your back molars.

Change your toothbrush every 3-4 months or as soon as the bristles appear worn. Also, if you play sports or clench your jaw while you sleep, it is important to wear a mouthguard and practice relaxation techniques to reduce the risk of injuries to your mouth and teeth.

Drink Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated helps rinse away food particles and acid that can damage your teeth. Aim for a goal of at least eight glasses of water per day.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Incorporating foods from each of the major food groups into your diet is important for overall oral health. Choose a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products to give you the nutrients you need for healthy teeth. Avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks, which can cause tooth decay and discoloration.

Limit Snacking

Frequent snacking can cause your mouth to produce extra acids that can erode tooth enamel over time. Try to eat three full, well-balanced meals per day and minimize between-meal snacks.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum

When you chew gum, it stimulates saliva production and neutralizes acids. It also increases your saliva flow, which washes away sugars and acids that can harm teeth. Aim to chew gum after eating and between meals, but remember that sugary gum is not a replacement for brushing your teeth on a regular basis.

Be Careful When Using Your Teeth

Do not open packages, tear labels or hold objects in your mouth that could crack or chip teeth. Also, be careful when biting down on hard, sticky foods, as this can damage your teeth and gums.

Aside from incorporating the above habits into your daily routine, it is important to visit a Northbrook, IL dentist for regular checkups and cleanings twice a year. This is an opportunity for your dentist to examine and clean your teeth, and provide you with personalized recommendations for your dental health. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!