NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Tooth decay and gum disease are related to almost 60 other health problems, including diabetes, heart conditions, and Alzheimer’s disease.

According to a news release, tooth decay affects 90% of people, and gum disease affects nearly 50% of those same people.

Untreated tooth decay cost the U.S. nearly $46 million in 2015.

There are 10 tips to do to prevent tooth decay.

  1. Don’t go to bed without brushing your teeth. It’s not a secret that the recommendation is to brush twice a day. But many people still neglect to brush their teeth at night specifically. Brushing teeth before going to bed gets rid of germs and plaque that develop during the day.
  2. Brush properly. The way your brush is just as important because doing a bad job is just as bad as not brushing at all. Take your time and move the toothbrush in gentle, circular motions. Missed plaque hardens, which leads to calculus buildup and early gum disease (gingivitis).
  3. Don’t forget your tongue. Plaque also builds up on the tongue. This can lead to bad-smelling breath, but also other health problems. Simply brush your tongue gently each time your brush.
  4. Use fluoride toothpaste. There are important things to look for besides whitening powers and flavors with toothpaste. Whichever you choose, make sure it has fluoride in it.
  5. Treat flossing to be just as important as brushing. Even people who brush all the time, forget to floss. It’s not just for removing little pieces of food between your teeth.
  6. See your dentist twice a year. Even the most dutiful brushers and flossers should see the dentist regularly. You should see the dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and check-ups.
  7. Consider using mouthwash. Mouthwash seems necessary according to advertisements, but a lot of people skip it because they don’t know how they work. But it reduces the amount of acid in the mouth, cleans the hard-to-brush areas, and re-mineralizes teeth.
  8. Drink more water. Water will always be the best thing to drink for your overall health, and that includes oral health. As a rule of thumb, you should drink water after every meal. It helps to wash out any negative effects of sticky and acidic foods or drinks.
  9. Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables. Foods that are ready to eat may be convenient, but they aren’t when it comes to teeth. Having fresh and crunchy produce contains healthy fiber, but is also the best choice.
  10. Limit sugary and acidic foods. Sugar converts into acid in the mouth, which leads to eroding the enamel of your teeth. Those acids lead to cavities. Acidic fruits, teas, and coffee wear down that enamel. You don’t need to avoid those foods, just be mindful.