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Brushing your teeth is an important part of your dental care routine. For a healthy mouth and smile the ADA recommends you: Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily. Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth. Make sure to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. The proper brushing technique is to: Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes. Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth. To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh. Of course, brushing your teeth is only a part of a complete dental care routine. You should also make sure to: Clean between teeth daily with floss. Tooth decay-causing bacteria still linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. This helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line. Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams. Talk to your dentist about what types of dental products will be most effective for you. The ADA Seal lets you know the product has met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness. Look for the ADA Seal on fluoride toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, oral irrigators, mouth rinses, and other oral hygiene products.
Although recent news reports have questioned the benefits of cleaning between your teeth, using an interdental cleaner (like floss) is an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also reaffirmed flossing as "an important oral hygiene practice" in an August 2016 statement. The American Dental Association recommends cleaning between your teeth once a day. This is important because plaque that is not removed by brushing and flossing can eventually harden into calculus or tartar. Flossing may also help prevent gum disease and cavities.
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