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Teeth cleaning and care is actually pretty simple.
The ADA recommends the following for good oral hygiene:
- If you have braces, rinse your mouth out with water first to clear and loose particles out of your teeth or braces.
- Brush your teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep breath fresh. Activity for kids: Listen to your favorite song while brushing! This will ensure that you brush for an adequate amount of time.
- 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 and they just don’t look very pretty either. Be sure not to over-brush your teeth or brush too hard! This is known as toothbrush abrasion and can lead to receding gums and sensitive teeth as it wears down tooth enamel. That is why we do not recommend medium- or hard-bristled toothbrushes especially if you have braces.
- Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner. Bacteria that cause tooth decay can linger where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. They’re sneaky like that. Cleaning like this helps remove the sticky film on teeth called plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line. Reducing the possibility for cavities and gum disease.
- If you have braces, avoid any teeth whitening products while you have them. That means no whitening toothpaste or whitening mouthwash. This is because the whitening agent only works on the parts of the teeth it touches which means the teeth covered by brackets will be a different color.
- Use a mouth rinse to keep your mouth healthy by reducing inflammation in your gums and cheeks as well as helping to prevent infection and decrease irritation that may occur with braces.
- Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. If you have braces, take a look at our Do Not Eat Menu. That means step away from the vending machine and put down the wrinkled dollar bill. It was too wrinkled to work anyways.
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional dental cleanings and oral exams.