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Many home care practices can help prevent disease or tooth decay, including brushing your teeth and tongue at least twice daily, flossing, and using mouthwash. However, it is also important to know how to floss and brush properly. Proper brushing techniques include using a soft, nylon manual or electric toothbrush. Place the toothbrush at the gum line at a 45 degree angle to cover the tooth surface and the gum line. Move the brush back and forth and in circles, gently brushing away any plaque and food debris from the surfaces of the teeth and the gum line. Patients should be sure to brush the insides and outsides of all teeth, including the hard to reach back teeth.
Floss should be used to clean in between teeth to help prevent tooth decay and gum infections. Proper flossing techniques include using an 18 inch strip of floss wrapped around the middle fingers of both hands. Insert the remaining two inches of floss between each tooth, using your thumbs to direct the movements. Gently scrape the plaque out from between each tooth. You should always floss below the gum line to remove any harmful plaque that is found under the gums, and be sure to hug each tooth with the floss as you move it up and down along the sides.
Healthy smiles begin in infancy! Parents should begin brushing and flossing their children’s teeth when the first tooth emerges. When the child is old enough, parents should teach their children to brush and floss. Setting a high standard of preventive dentistry and oral hygiene early on will help your child develop healthy oral hygiene habits for life! Once the adult molars erupt around the age of six and then again at 12, sealants will likely be recommended to reduce the risk of tooth decay in the deep grooves of these teeth.
Lastly, visiting your dentist every six months will also help prevent serious dental issues such as tooth decay or periodontal disease. Dental checkups and oral cancer screenings can catch things that you may have missed during your home care routine. Parents should make appointments for their children to see the dentist after their first tooth erupts as well as establish a good home care routine. Children should also see the dentist every six months.
Checkups and cleanings of preventive dentistry cannot be substituted with home care, but together, the two will help ensure that your smile will stay healthy and last a lifetime! Call us today to schedule your appointment.