Prevention is better than cure. This proverb is 100% true when it comes to dental problems. When dental problems begin to become troublesome, we often wonder what caused our teeth to go bad in the first place. Many of us don’t realize that the tooth problems that we are having today is a result of years of neglect or inadequate dental care. By the time the problems start attracting attention, it is time for corrective treatment and a little too late for prevention.Start early to prevent or minimize dental problems:Dental care should start at an early age. This is the time for making sure that children pick up the right habits of oral hygiene. It is also important to get a dental checkup done after the first birthday or six months after the milk teeth begin to appear whichever comes first. After that a periodic checkup needs to be done depending upon the recommendation of the dentist. This is important because children often tend to neglect oral hygiene and also consume more sweet and sticky foods.Basic dental care, seven tips to keep teeth healthy:1. Brushing regularly twice a day keeps the teeth free of plaque while removing food particles that allow bacteria to multiply and damage the teeth.2. Flossing once a day keeps plaque in control. Plaque is the chief culprit which results in deterioration of teeth, gums and nearby bones.3. It is important to clean the tongue with a tongue cleaner or with a soft bristled toothbrush.4. Toothpaste which is approved by the dental should be used.5. We should eat sufficient quantities of teeth friendly foods which provide the nutrients to sustain healthy teeth. Examples of such foods are grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy products.6. We must avoid or reduce consumption of foods which promote tooth decay. Frequent and excessive consumption of sticky foods and foods that have high sugar content such as soft drinks, chocolates and pastries is a recipe for future dental problems. There are many reasons why tobacco products should not be used, but avoiding discoloration of teeth is definitely one of them.7. As mentioned before, regular dental checkups are a must. This helps in detecting and fixing problems early before they become acute and require major repair or tooth loss.Benefits of sound dental care practices:There are many benefits of taking good care of our teeth. It keeps our teeth strong, prevents cavities and decay and keeps gums in good health. This reduces the incidence of dental problems, dental visits and procedures thus saving time and money. Good oral hygiene also prevents bad breath which is caused by the bacteria in the mouth. Dental care will also minimize tooth discoloration.For healthy teeth that will last for a lifetime, it is important that we take proper care right from a young age. Dental care is habit forming. People who learn good oral hygiene habits tend to continue that throughout their lives and the reverse is also true. If we are in the latter category it is never too late to start taking care of our teeth. Good dental hygiene also helps prevent recurrence of dental problems.