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How to Protect Your Teeth

When you drink sugary beverages and eat starchy foods, you’re not only feeding yourself, you’re feeding the plaque that can cause problems in your mouth. The American Dental Association offers these tips to help reduce tooth-decay risk from the foods you eat:

  • Consume sugary foods only with meals. Saliva production increases during meals, which helps neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth.

  • Limit between-meal snacks. If you crave a snack, choose nutritious foods and consider chewing sugarless gum afterward to increase saliva flow and wash out food and acid. Each time you eat food that contains sugars or starches, acids attack your teeth for 20 minutes or more after you finish eating.

  • Drink more water. Fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, check the label for the fluoride content—most don’t contain the optimal amount.

  • Keep your teeth and gums clean. Gently brush your teeth at least twice a day, with special attention to the gum line, using toothpaste that contains fluoride. Floss between your teeth at least once every day.

“Plaque.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org//2727.aspx?currentTab=2 Accessed 2013.

“Diet and Dental Health.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/diet-and-dental-health Accessed 2013.

“Policy on Bottled Water, Home Water Treatment Systems, and Fluoride Exposure.” American Dental Association. www.ada.org/2095.aspx Accessed 2013.

“Brushing Your Teeth.” Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/b/brushing-your-teeth. Accessed 2013.

"Flossing." Mouth Healthy, American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing. Accessed 2013.

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