We see young patients who, because of fluoride, sealants, regular dental examinations and cleaning appointments, and good brushing and flossing, have zero dental disease.
Organized dentistry has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars promoting water fluoridation because it reduces tooth decay (60%) in our young (1-13) patients. Dentistry is one of the few professions that has ever spent that kind of money and energy in promoting a service that is in our worst financial interests. Dentists really are the GOOD GUYS.
So now, what do you do if you are an adult and are already past the ages when fluoride tablets or flouridated water could have made your teeth 60% stronger? The answer is that you do everything else on the list.
1) Keep teeth as resistant to tooth decay as possible by removing 100% of the plaque daily by perfect brushing and flossing and/or consume no sugars.
2) Have regular dental cleaning and examination appointments to compensate for the fact that very few people achieve the "100%" goal or the "no sugars" diet.
3) Catch any problems early. The places that tooth and gum problems happen are statistically predictable. X-Rays and visual examinations and measurements detect problems early and make it possible to provide minimal treatment to correct early stages of dental disease.
4) Good prevention includes restoring problems that have managed to "slip through the cracks" over the years. Replacing missing teeth is good prevention in order to improve function and to reduce the biting forces placed on remaining teeth. See the webpage "Procedures" to learn about what modern dentistry has to offer to restore function along with restoring or creating a beautiful smile.
Prevention really includes all of those things that will allow us to live into our nineties having healthy teeth and a nice smile.