Brush after meals, floss daily—you know the drill. When it comes to your teeth, there's nothing new to learn, right? Wrong. We've uncovered some surprising ways to boost your tooth health. Read on for your best-ever choppers:

  • Embrace braces. They're not just for the preteen set anymore, and they're not just about vanity. According to Cheryl Goren Robins, DDS, an clinical assistant professor of surgical sciences at New York University College of Dentistry, crooked teeth are more difficult to keep clean, which is more likely to lead to cavities and periodontal disease.
  • Chew gum. Just make sure it's sugarless. Sugarless gum can stimulate saliva flow and help loosen food particles and plaque from your teeth. Don't chew for too long, though, as this can put stress on your teeth. When your jaw muscles start to hurt, get rid of the gum.
  • Go easy on the soda and juice. Regular soda has lots of sugar, of course, but even diet soda can wreck your teeth. That's because diet sodas are acidic, and acid damages tooth enamel, leading to cavities and grooves. Juice is acidic as well. You can rinse your mouth after drinking these beverages to lessen the chance that acid will remain on your teeth, or you can drink them through a straw so less acid comes into contact with your teeth in the first place.
  • Check your meds. Some medications, such as those for high blood pressure, anxiety or depression, can cause a condition known as xerostomia, or dry mouth. If you have dry mouth, not enough saliva is produced to flush away food particles and other bacteria. This can cause tooth and gum decay. The fix: Drink plenty of water, eat sugar-free candies to stimulate saliva production, and possibly brush with a high-fluoride toothpaste or get fluoride treatments in your dentist's office.
  • Chew "detergent" foods. Some dentists recommend eating crisp, firm foods like apples and celery, claiming that these foods help sweep debris off of teeth. This doesn't replace the need for tooth brushing, but if you can't brush right away, eating one of these foods at the end of a meal can keep teeth relatively clean until your next brushing session.