Updated: Aug 10, 2021
1. See your dentist regularly
Regular dental exams and professional cleanings are the best way to prevent and detect problems before they get worse.
Don't wait for a toothache or a dental emergency to look for a dentist. Ask for recommendations from friends, family, neighbours, or co-workers. If you're moving, ask if your current dentist can refer you to a dentist in your new area.
Check out these tips for finding a dentist.
2. Choose a variety of healthy foods and drinks each day
Eat a well-balanced diet. Good nutrition helps build strong teeth and gums.
Limit foods and beverages containing sugar, sodium, carbohydrates or saturated fats.
Make water your drink of choice.
Limit drinking alcohol.
Munch on mouth-healthy snacks like cheeses, nuts, vegetables, and non-acidic fruits.
3. Check your mouth regularly
Look for signs of gum disease:
Red, shiny, puffy, sore or sensitive gums
Bleeding when you brush or floss
Bad breath that won't go away
Look for signs of oral cancer:
Bleeding or open sores that don't heal
White or red patches
Numbness or tingling
Small lumps and thickening on the sides or bottom of your tongue, the floor or roof of your mouth, the inside of your cheeks, or on your gums
4. Limit alcohol, and avoid smoking, smokeless tobacco and vaping
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Canada.
Smoking tobacco can affect the appearance and health of your mouth and gums. Smokeless tobacco ("snuff", "spit" or chewing tobacco), is held in the mouth between the teeth and cheek.
By giving up tobacco, you can dramatically reduce your chance of developing a range of health conditions.
Talk to your dentist about how tobacco is affecting your oral and overall health. Check out these quit supports and tips for living smoke, tobacco and vape-free.
5. Keep your mouth clean
Brush twice a day using a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
Wait at least 20–30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth.
Floss every day. After flossing, roll it up in a tiny ball and put it in the garbage. Never flush floss down the toilet.
Look for oral care products bearing the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) Seal.