Tips for Maintaining Oral Hygiene

Good Oral Hygiene

Good Oral HygieneMaintaining good oral hygiene is important no matter what your age. When your teeth and gums are healthy, you can eat the foods you need for good nutrition and feel more confident about smiling, talking, and laughing with your friends and acquaintances.

Teeth are meant to last a lifetime. By taking appropriate steps to care for your teeth and gums today, you can protect them for many years.

Prevent Tooth Decay

Your teeth are covered with a hard, outer coating called enamel. Every day, a thin film of bacteria forms on the surface of your teeth. Over time, this bacteria can create holes in your enamel called cavities. If you have a cavity, you should find a dentist to fix it.

You can help prevent tooth decay by brushing and flossing your teeth every day and using fluoride toothpaste. If you have a lot of tooth decay, your dentist or dental hygienist may give you a fluoride treatment during an office visit. Or, the dentist may tell you to use a fluoride gel or mouth rinse at home.

Fight Gum Diseases

Gum disease is caused by a build up of plaque along and under your gum line. This plaque causes infections that hurt the gum and bone that hold your teeth in place.

Gingivitis, a common form of gum disease, makes your gums tender and more likely to bleed. This problem can often be fixed by daily brushing and flossing.

If you develop periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease, you should find a periodontist or dentist and ask about treatment options. Left untreated, periodontitis can ruin the bones, gums, and other tissues that support your teeth. Over time, your teeth may have to be removed.

To help prevent gum disease:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss once a day.
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Don't smoke.

Brush and Floss Every Day

To maintain good oral hygiene, you need to brush and floss every day. Careful flossing will take off plaque and leftover food that a toothbrush can't reach.

To properly brush and floss your teeth and gums, do the following every day.

  • Gently brush all sides of your teeth with a soft-bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste using a small circular motion and short back-and-forth strokes.
  • Brush carefully and gently along the gum line.
  • Lightly brush your tongue to help keep your mouth clean.
  • Floss around the base of each tooth, making sure to go beneath the gum line, using a gentle up-and-down motion.
  • Rinse after flossing.

If brushing or flossing causes your gums to bleed or hurts your mouth, consult your dentist. Have your dentist show you the right way to floss and ask if a floss holder is right for you.

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Learn how to properly brush and floss your teeth, care for your gums and help prevent common dental problems like tooth decay and gum disease.