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Brush at least twice a day for at least 2 minutes. Many
oral/healthcare professionals recommend brushing just
before going to bed. When you sleep, saliva decreases,
leaving the teeth more vulnerable to bacterial acids. Brush
lightly – brushing too hard can cause gums to recede.
Once plaque has hardened into calculus (tartar), brushing
can’t remove it, so brushing harder won’t help.
Always use a toothbrush with “soft” or “extra soft”
bristles – the harder the brush, the greater the risk of harming gum tissue. Change your toothbrush regularly – as soon as the bristles begin to splay, the toothbrush loses its ability to clean properly. Throw away your old toothbrush after three months or when the bristles flare, whichever comes first. If you find your bristles flaring much sooner than three months, you may be brushing too hard. Try easing up.
Floss once a day – although there is research recommend an optimum number of times to floss, most dentists recommend a thorough flossing at least once a day. If you tend to get food trapped between teeth, flossing more often can help remove it. There are new products which some of our patients have found to be helpful to clean between teeth. Ask Dr. Peters for a sample.
Your choice of mouthwashes or rinses will be guided by your personal oral care needs. Over-the-counter rinses are available to freshen breath, provide fluoride and kill plaque bacteria. Ask Dr. Peters or your dental hygienist to recommend the type of rinse that would be best for you.
Eating a well-balanced diet that limits starchy foods, sugary foods and sports drinks will greatly reduce your risk of developing tooth decay. Soft drinks are a leading cause of tooth decay. The sugar in soft drinks combine with the bacteria in the mouth to produce acid that can destroy the teeth. You’re at even greater risk if you sip pop throughout the day, since that exposes your teeth to the sugars and acids for longer periods and is even more likely to result in tooth decay.