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Best Oral Hygiene Practices

Best Oral Hygiene PracticesOral bacteria lurk in the sticky plaque that adheres to your teeth, often where your toothbrush cannot reach. Sugar, starches and other foods cause these bacteria to produce an acidic waste product that can irritate your gums and leave them red and likely to bleed when cleaned. If the plaque is not properly removed and gums are not properly treated, the gums will begin to develop pockets of infection and pull away from teeth, which can damage the bone around the teeth, and lead to tooth loss and other serious health conditions.

The best way to remove plaque and reduce the risk of gum disease is to brush regularly. The ADA recommends brushing at least twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Use fluoride toothpaste, which can help protect teeth from decay and remineralize them more quickly. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle and move it gently back and forth across the surface of one tooth, before moving on to the next. Brush all outer, inner and chewing surfaces of your teeth, and brush your tongue to remove extra bacteria.

After brushing, clean between your teeth using dental floss or an interdental cleaner, which helps remove the plaque that your toothbrush cannot reach. Use about 18 inches of floss wound around the middle fingers of both hands, and hold the floss carefully between your thumbs and index fingers. Guide it gently between teeth and curve it around each tooth with a gentle sliding motion to remove the plaque. Unwind a clean length of floss from one middle finger and clean the next set of teeth, and continue the process until all teeth have been flossed. Finish your daily cleaning with an antimicrobial or fluoride mouth rinse, which can reduce plaque and bacteria and help prevent tooth decay.

Learn more about ways to keep your teeth strong and healthy by scheduling a checkup with Dr. Ghasri, West Hollywood dentist.

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