Taking care of your teeth at home can help you maintain your dental health and prevent periodontal, or gum, disease from developing.

Richard H. Price, DMD, spokesperson for the American Dental Association and a former clinical instructor at the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, says regular home care should include daily brushing and flossing. “My advice is to brush thoroughly, at least twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening before going to bed,” says Dr. Price. “Be sure to floss at least once a day. I do it after every meal when I can.” Proper dental care at home, combined with seeing your dentist regularly, is your ticket to good dental health, says Price, who is retired from a 35-year private group dental practice in Newton, Mass.

Dental Health at Home

“Use products that have the ADA (American Dental Association) seal,” says Price. “This means that the products — toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, etc. — are safe to use as directed and will keep your mouth healthy — no gum disease, no cavities.”

Here are some basic principles to follow:

  • Spend at least three minutes brushing your teeth two times a day. Use a timer if you have to ensure that you’re spending enough time on your oral care routine.
  • Use floss at least once a day every day to clean between your teeth.
  • Buy ADA-approved dental cleaning tools and toothpaste.

“Basically, brush and floss, and do it correctly,” says Price.

The goal of regular home care is to combat the buildup of plaque in and around your teeth and gums, and fight bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. Adults who neglect their teeth and who let plaque build up often develop infections in the delicate tissue around their teeth, Price explains.

 

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