Brush for two. Most people only brush one-third of the suggested time. Aim to brush your teeth for a full two minutes every morning and every evening – set a timer if necessary. The most important thing is that the plaque is gone when you finish!
Improve your technique. Slant your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums and gently move it in a circular motion rather than a back-and-forth motion. Don’t feel like you have to push down hard. It doesn’t take a lot of force to remove plaque.
Focus on floss. Flossing is the only way to reach those hard-to-reach areas between the teeth where the majority of gum disease begins. Floss once a day for best results.
Don’t think “all or nothing.” While it’s best to floss your teeth at least once a day, the Academy of General Dentistry says that flossing even two or three times a week is far better than not flossing at all.
Rinse and repeat. While it’s no substitute for brushing or flossing, rinsing your mouth with mouthwash for just 30 seconds can help remove debris. Look for a product with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal.
Try a tongue scraper. Available at any drugstore, this little tool is an easy way to remove buildup of debris, bacteria, and dead cells from the surface of your tongue. Don’t forget the back part!
Toss your brush. Dentists recommend changing your toothbrush (or brush head, if you use an electric brush) at least every two to three months. Change it even sooner if the bristles are frayed or splay in different directions.
Buy a pack. Did you know that chewing sugar-free gum after eating can help fight tooth decay? Make a habit of chewing a piece of sugarless gum for about 20 minutes after every meal.
Out of gum? Rinse your mouth with water instead. Even a swig of water will dilute the acid that attacks your tooth enamel every time you eat.
Schedule an appointment.
See your dentist for a routine cleaning and check-up every six months. An oral exam is the only way to detect and prevent oral disease and other dental issues. It could save you major money down the road.
Did you know?
Studies show that for every dollar spent on preventive care, you can save between $4 and $50 in restorative care.
Stay alert. Be sure to see your dentist immediately if you have any tooth or jaw issues, such as tooth sensitivity, a toothache, or a sore. The sooner you can treat a problem, the better. Don’t wait until it gets out of hand!
Pick better products. Not all toothpastes and mouthwashes are created equal. To pick the best products for you and your family, look for the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance. The ADA also keeps an updated list on its website of all of the dental products that have received the seal.