Taking Good Care of Your Teeth at Home

Avoid expensive dental treatments by maintaining good oral hygiene and healthy teeth at home.

Taking Good Care of Your Teeth at Home
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Overview
It doesn't matter how many trips you make to the dentist, one of the most important things you can do for your teeth is to take good care of them at home. This means taking care of them on a day to day basis, not just when you feel like it. Good daily oral care can prevent tooth loss and gum disease, and it's very easy to do.
Brushing
Teeth should be brushed at least twice but no more than three times a day. Brushing too hard or too often can lead to gum problems, and it can cause excessive wear on the enamel of the teeth, which, in turn, cause breakdown of the teeth to occur. You should have your dentist show you the proper way to brush, as this can vary with the individual, depending upon how their teeth are positioned and any disease or problems that may be present.
Flossing
There is no set rule as to how often you should floss, but dentists recommend that it be done at least once daily. You may need to floss more often if your teeth are prone to getting a lot of debris stuck between them while you are eating. The main thing to remember is that flossing takes time. Set aside a time each day when you are not rushed and can make the effort to do it right. Be sure to floss between each tooth, and use plenty of floss to do the job right. There are many types of floss on the market so you can experiment with each one and find the one that does the best job for you and your teeth.
Mouthwashes and Oral Rinses
There is a huge variety of mouthwashes and oral rinses on the market today, and each provides some sort of oral protection. You may want to choose one that is mainly for control of bad breath, or you may find that one that provides protection against plaque build up is your best choice. For younger children and adults, a rinse that contains fluoride is recommended. You should ask you dentist for his advice on just what kind of mouth rinse is right for you.
Toothpaste
You should choose a toothpaste that offers the type of protection that your teeth need. There are toothpastes that offer fluoride protection, tartar control, bad breath control, care for diseased gums or for tooth whitening. You may want to ask your dentist or hygienist for a recommendation. Young children should have a toothpaste that is not too strong in flavor, or too harsh, but still provides the cavity and fluoride protection that they need.
Sugar
Avoid overindulging in sweets and acidic foods as these can attribute to tooth decay. If you are in a situation in which you can't brush your teeth, try chewing a piece of sugar free gum. The gum will help increase saliva which will reduce the acid on the teeth, and it will help loosen and remove tiny particles of food that are adhered to your teeth.
Resources
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Kids Health
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Health Information/Teeth
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Taking Care of Teeth