Prevention of tooth decay relies on a lot of your own personal behavior and habits and requires more than the cursory brush once or twice a day. Maintaining good health for your teeth means taking special care and making efforts to assure outside influences don't cause rot and decay when it can be prevented.
Of course, proper brushing is a great start. Choose a toothbrush with soft, rounded bristles to avoid damaging your enamel, which can lead to weak spots that are easily penetrated by decay-causing substances. Also, replace your toothbrush every 4-6 months. You should make sure the head isn't too big so that you can reach all the furthest corners of your mouth.
One source of decay-causing substances that is often ignored is the tongue. You can get a lot of buildup here than is detrimental to the health of your teeth. To avoid bacteria causing tooth decay, brush your tongue as far back as you can reach every time you brush your teeth, and use mouthwash once a day to rinse the areas you can't reach with antibacterial solution.
You shouldn't forget to brush your gums, either. Ignoring your gums can cause them to become inflamed and irritated, which means that your natural defenses against decay in the roots of your teeth are down. By brushing away decay-causing materials and keeping your gums strong, you greatly reduce your risk of decayed teeth, especially at the most delicate spot on your teeth.
When choosing toothpaste, be sure to stick with one that contains fluoride. Fluoride is essential for strengthening enamel, which helps assure you are less vulnerable to decay. You may also want to find a toothpaste that offers tartar control, since tartar often leads to further tooth decay. Make sure you use enough toothpaste when you brush to work up a lather, as this activates the useful ingredients in the substance.
Aside from brushing and using mouthwash, you should also floss your teeth regularly. The bristles of your brush cannot get to all the spaces between your teeth, where tough pieces of food and spices can easily get stuck, and while mouthwash can help remove some of these, some are lodged too tightly. Floss makes sure nothing stays impacted between your teeth, causing the buildup of tooth-eating bacteria and germs, which leads to decay.
While you may not want to consider changing your diet, it can go a long way in helping to prevent tooth decay. You should avoid large amounts of sugar, since the substance eats away at your teeth. If you eat something sticky or something containing a large amount of sugar, you should brush your teeth as soon as possible afterward and consider flossing as well. Never go to bed without brushing, especially if you have consumed any sugar (dessert, for example).
It's vital to visit your dentist for regular tooth cleanings every six months as well. This deep, thorough procedure can get anything you've managed to miss and make all the difference in terms of avoiding tooth decay. Most insurance companies offer cleanings for free twice a year, so there is not even a cost to this preventative measure.
Take care of your teeth. Tooth decay can not only eat away at your teeth but also your ability to maintain other healthy habits, such as being able to eat good food. Take the necessary preventative steps so you won't have to take the corrective ones.