A toothbrush is an important tool in the fight against tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Your toothbrush helps remove food and plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is always forming on your teeth. If plaque is not removed with regular brushing and cleaning between the teeth, it can harden into calculus, also called tartar. Tartar buildup can lead to gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss. Tartar can only be removed when teeth are cleaned at the dental office.
Brush your teeth twice a day. Most dental professionals recommend brushing for at least two minutes each time. Your dentist or hygienist can show you how. It’s also important to clean your teeth with floss or another between-the-teeth cleaner daily. This helps remove food and plaque from between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach. If you notice bleeding or gum recession, schedule a dental appointment.
When shopping for a toothbrush, floss, and fluoride toothpaste, look for those that show the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. This says that the product meets the ADA’s standards for safety and effectiveness.
Choose a toothbrush in a size and shape that fits your mouth comfortably. Replace your toothbrush every three months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. Worn toothbrushes won’t clean teeth properly.
If you have hand, arm, or shoulder problems that limit movement, a powered toothbrush may be easier for you to use. Your dental office may also recommend certain products for your oral health needs.
The following is just one of several effective ways to clean your teeth.
1. Place your toothbrush against your
gumline (where your teeth and gums
meet) at a 45-degree angle. Move the
brush back and forth gently in short
2. Brush the outer tooth surfaces.
3. Brush the inner tooth surfaces.
4. Brush the chewing surfaces.
5. Use the top part of the brush to clean the
inside surface of the top and bottom front
teeth. Use a gentle up-and-down motion.
6. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and
freshen your breath.
Eating a healthy diet, limiting snacks, and visiting your dentist regularly will help you keep your smile healthy for years to come.
Patient education content ©2014 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. “ADA” and the “ADA” Logo are registered trademarks of the American Dental Association.
Considering dental implants to replace missing teeth?No matter how it happens, having missing teeth can make anyone feel self-conscious. Instead of smiling naturally, people with missing teeth tend to hide their smiles and lose their confidence. Even worse, the space left by missing teeth is more likely to become infected with bacteria as opposed to other…
Dental exams are an important part of visiting a general dentist. The examination portion of the appointment is crucial in catching any warning signs that may indicate problems, such as cavities or gum disease. In particular, gum disease can be difficult to notice as it may present itself without any major warning signs. With that being…
General dentists offer dental implants to patients with missing teeth to address cosmetic, functional and oral health concerns. Many patients do not know how to prepare for the consultation visit for multiple dental implants, and understanding useful questions to ask your general dentist is helpful. You may have specific questions that are important to you to…
Maintaining healthy teeth and gums does more than ensure a strong and beautiful smile. Proper routine dental care also helps lower the risks of developing many serious diseases, including certain cancers, heart problems, and diabetes. However, patients who struggle with dental anxiety may fail to stick with a regular cleaning and checkup schedule. As a…
Invisalign® and traditional braces are two of the more common methods of orthodontic treatment. Each option offers unique benefits, and one may be preferable to another in certain situations. This review offers insights into how Invisalign and traditional braces compare to one another and how to choose the best option for you. Invisalign and traditional braces…