The best way to ensure a clean and healthy smile is brushing and flossing. Food particles can accumulate on teeth and eventually turn into plaque. The bacteria that results from this accumulation can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even loss of teeth.
Practicing good dental hygiene avoids unhealthy teeth and costly treatment in the long run. In addition to regular dental checkups and cleanings, diet control and fluoride treatments, children and adults should maintain a good brushing and flossing routine.
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- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a small strip of fluoridated toothpaste. Holding the brush at a 45-degree angle, move the brush in small circular motions across the teeth.
- Carefully brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth, making sure to clean the back teeth and between the teeth.
- Use the same circular motion to clean the inside of the upper and lower teeth.
- Brush the inside of the top and bottom front teeth by angling the head of the toothbrush up-and-down and brushing in a small, circular motion.
- Finish by brushing your tongue and the roof of your mouth before rinsing.
- Floss at least once a day. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser and wrap the ends tightly around your middle fingers.
- Gently guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, including the back teeth, to remove any food particles or plaque.
- Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end.
The teeth, bones and soft tissue of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. A variety of foods from the five food groups help minimize and avoid cavities and other dental problems. Consumption of foods that contain sugars and starches should be decreased. These foods can include candies, cookies, chips and crackers. Healthier foods, such as vegetables, low-fat yogurt and cheeses, help promote stronger teeth.
You should visit your general dentist twice a year (once every six months). In order to maintain a healthy smile, it is vital to have professional cleanings and regular checkups. Your dentist will examine your teeth and provide an evaluation of existing dental problems and proposed treatment. If you have a dental emergency, you should call your dentist immediately.