Preventive dental care involves good oral hygiene with the intent of keeping your teeth healthy. This helps the patient avoid tooth decay, cavities, gum disease and other dental health problems.
There are many ways to care for your teeth, such as daily brushing with a good fluoride toothpaste and biannual professional cleanings. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the best way to maintain optimal oral health is to schedule dental visits at regular intervals. Kids should be taught good oral hygiene practices from the time they cut their first tooth.
The most important step is to brush your teeth twice each day with fluoride toothpaste. Choose a brand that has been approved by the ADA. Be sure to replace your toothbrush at least three times per year. If the brush shows signs of wear or if the bristles appear frayed, discard the brush.
Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle at the base of each tooth, and use a back and forth motion to go over all surfaces of every tooth. Remember to also brush your tongue. Brush for at least two minutes to remove bacteria and freshen your breath. Try not to brush too hard it won’t get your teeth any cleaner, it will only damage the enamel and irritate your gums.
Floss once daily to clean between tight spaces that your toothbrush can’t reach. If you have trouble handling floss or if you wear braces, try using floss threaders for easier maneuvering. To make sure you are getting the most out of your flossing habit, ask your dentist for a demonstration on how to floss correctly.
Visit your dentist for at least an annual exam to check for any changes or problems with your oral health. If you are at risk for certain dental conditions, more frequent visits would benefit you more. Routine cleanings and check-ups give your dentist the opportunity to identify potential issues and treat them immediately.
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