Brushing your teeth regularly (at least twice a day) is one of the most important practices for your overall health. But sometimes we forget the proper technique and what other things go into an optimal dental care routine. To keep us on track, here are some brushing tips from Mouth Healthy, a division of the American Dental Association (ADA).
The ADA recommends you do the following as part of your dental care routine:
- Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled brush. Select the right size and shape brush for your mouth, which should allow you to reach all areas.
- Every three or four months, be sure to replace your toothbrush.
- Use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
The steps for proper brushing technique are to:
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
- Move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
- Be sure to brush all the parts of your teeth, including the outer, inner and chewing surfaces.
- To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
- Finally, brush your tongue, which will remove bacteria and help keep your breath fresh.
In addition to brushing your teeth, a complete dental care routine involves:
- Flossing between your teeth daily. "Tooth decay-causing bacteria still linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can't reach," the ADA states. Flossing is particularly important because it "helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line."
- Eat a balanced and healthy diet and try to limit snacking between mealtimes.
- Visit your dentist every six months for professional cleanings and oral exams.
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