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Taking Care of Your Teeth

As a kid you probably chuckled when grandpa dropped his dentures to get your attention and you always promised yourself that wouldnít happen to you. With proper care, the teeth you have will serve you well throughout the course of your life.

Eating a healthy diet coupled with regular flossing and brushing will keep your teeth strong, healthy and in place. Good oral hygiene starts with brushing and flossing.

Daily brushing and flossing not only keep your mouth fresh, it will keep cavities and tooth decay in check. Itís also important in the prevention of gum disease. Periodontal, or gum disease, attacks the tissue along the gum line and attacks the bones that hold your teeth in position. If left unchecked, both tissue and bones deteriorate causing the teeth to fall out.

Typically, everyone brushes. But, most people do an inadequate job and fail to remove the majority of plaque buildup. Often, people simply brush incorrectly or donít brush long enough.

While it may seem like a long time, brushing at least two minutes is highly recommended to be sure you have covered every section of your mouth. Brush thoroughly, but donít scrub. Scrubbing tends to irritate or damage the gum line which could lead to gum recession.

With a soft toothbrush, brush morning and evening and every three or four months use a new brush. If possible use a powered brush that oscillates or rotates.

When brushing, position your brush at 45 degrees and place at the point where the gums and teeth meet. This will enable you to remove more plaque that hides along the gum line. Use a circular motion while going backward and forward along your teeth. Apply firm pressure, but not too firm. Excessively hard brushing may scratch or damage the enamel of your teeth.

Brush your entire mouth. This includes your cheeks, tongue and the back side of your teeth and pay special attention to the chewing areas or surfaces. When brushing your tongue go from the back to the front. This will help reduce the amount of plaque which also reduces bacteria. This can be done with or without toothpaste. Today, there are a number of toothbrushes that have a special tongue brush on one end.

Your mouth will not be totally clean until you floss. The kind or flavor of floss has little bearing on its ability to clean between your teeth. The important thing is that you floss.

There are a couple of approaches to flossing and either approach will be effective. You can either wrap each end of the floss around a finger on each hand or you can make a loop. Then, ease the floss down between your teeth and work it around and up and down the tooth. Using an up and down motion will help remove the buildup occurring between each tooth.

There are also floss tools available that will make the job easier or if youíre flossing the teeth of young children. If bleeding should occur, keep an eye on it to be sure there is no infection or disease, but it should stop as the health of your gums improve. If it continues, see your dentist.

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