The key to keeping your teeth in top shape is regular brushing and flossing. Awareness of proper tooth care has helped to bring about a new generation of people who are virtually cavity-free.
1. Daily tools
a. Dispose your toothbrush every few months.
b. Because the moist environment of the bathroom is ideal for microorganisms to service, it is a good idea to keep your toothbrush (uncovered) in your bedroom, which is typically a drier area.
c. When you have a cold or the flu, replace your toothbrush while you are sick and again once you have recovered.
d. Unless your dentist recommends one, avoid toothpastes that claim to whiten your teeth. These often contain harsh abrasives and prolonged use can damage or wear away the enamel of the tooth.
e. Remove minor stains on teeth by gently brushing with a paste made of baking soda and water.
2. The right technique
a. Overzealous scrubbing with a toothbrush can cause the gums to recede and can even damage the tooth’s exposed root. If you tend to brush too vigorously, try holding the brush as you would a pencil-between your thumb and first two fingers. This will automatically make your strokes shorter and lighter.
b. Floss after you brush rather than before. Besides removing plaque, you will also be working the tooth paste down between your teeth.
c. If you notice a smooth, opaque white patch inside your mouth or on your lip, see your dentist or dermatologist. This may indicate a precancerous condition.
3. Gum disease: Plaque and tartar (a hard mineral deposit) can cause periodontal or gum disease called gingivitis in the early stage and periodontitis in the more advanced stage.
a. To prevent a buildup of plaque and tartar, brush and floss regularly and properly and have professional cleaning at least twice a year. Bacteria flourishing on dental surfaces can affect your body as well as your teeth.
b. Avoid cigarette and chewing tobacco as they can irritate gums and can also lead to oral other cancers.
c. Eat healthy balanced meals.
d. Persistent bad breath and red, tender or easily bleeding gums may be signs of gum disease. If you experience any of these, see your dentist. Remember that gingivitis is usually reversible.
e. Toothpastes that claim to be antiplaque are effective, but they remove plaque only from the exposed surfaces of teeth. So, you still need to clean between your teeth with floss or special cleansers your dentist can recommend.