An important step you can take in keeping yourself and your family healthy is to focus on taking good care of your teeth and gums. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the following for good oral hygiene:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
- Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner. Decay–causing bacteria still linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Flossing removes plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.
- Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks.
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.
- Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed. A worn toothbrush will not do a good job of cleaning your teeth. Children’s toothbrushes often need replacing more frequently than adults because they can wear out sooner.
- Stop tobacco (smoking and chewing) use.
Following these important guidelines can decrease your chances of tooth decay, gum disease, and other serious illnesses, including cancer of the mouth.
Taking care of your teeth and gums can have a positive impact on your whole body. Good dental care is particularly important if you are pregnant, or have diabetes or heart disease or other serious illnesses.