In the same way preventative maintenance is the best way to avoid major car problems, taking care of your teeth could save you a lot of headaches (and toothaches) this year.

Here are some of the most common dental problems we see (and how to avoid them):

1. Gum Disease

Gum disease is typically caused by three factors: bad oral hygiene, smoking and genetic susceptibility. Periodontitis, whose symptoms can include constant bad breath, swollen or bleeding gums and loose or sensitive teeth is the more severe form of gum disease and can put you at greater risk for heart attack or stroke. Practicing good dental habits and making wise food choices are good prevention strategies, but if you already have gum disease, here’s a pain-free option to solving your problem.

2. Mouth Sores

The most common type of mouth sore is canker sores. Canker sores are non-virus based and caused by everything from stress to genetics, and typically take about 12 days to run their course. If you, or someone you know, has canker sores, you know how annoying and painful they can be. Fixing this issue has never been easier.

4. Tooth Decay (Cavities)

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth being left alone and given time to cause damage. Bacteria feasts on sugar and starch remnants left on and between our teeth. Good oral hygiene is your best bet on prevention, and parents should be particularly mindful, as cavities most often occur in kids. Once a cavity has formed, however, there are easy treatment options.

5. Enamel Erosion

Acid on the enamel of your teeth causes erosion. As the enamel is worn away, bacteria can then attack, leading to tooth decay. To prevent this, be sure to drink lots of water, cut down on acidic drinks and foods, and chew sugarless gum with xylitol. Here are some other great tips to avoid enamel erosion and keep your teeth white throughout the year.