6 things your dentist won't tell you

Boost your dental health—and your wallet—with this insider knowledge from the professionals.

2. there are simple ways to prevent decay

Hand with spoon feeding baby girl

Decay can be catching. Tasting a baby’s food can pass on the bacteria that cause it. If you don’t want to set a child up for a lifetime of fillings, avoid sharing spoons, lollies and slobbery kisses.

Don’t brush straight after meals. Wait half an hour to let the enamel harden or you’ll brush it away.

Spit, don’t rinse. If you swill your mouth out after brushing, you’ll wash away the toothpaste ingredients that prevent decay.

Teeth can heal themselves. Give them a little help by brushing with fluoride toothpaste (look for 1,350–1,500 parts per million) to reverse the early stages of decay. You can use it even if the water’s fluoridated—that’s a bonus, not a substitute.

Don’t worry about where you leave your toothbrush. It picks up bacteria wherever you put it, and most of them come from your mouth. The best way to stay safe is to replace it every three months.