The prevention of tooth decay is the most important goal of your daily oral hygiene routine. Many of the foods you eat cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids, which, in turn, cause a plaque buildup on your teeth. In addition, plaque produces substances that irritate your gums and make them red, tender, or bleed easily. After a while your gums can pull away from your teeth and pockets of bacteria and pus will form. If your gums are not treated properly, your teeth can be destroyed. The best way to remove plaque is to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brushing your teeth removes plaque from the surfaces of your teeth. Using toothpaste that contains fluoride also helps protect your teeth. Your dentist can recommend a toothpaste for your particular dental needs. Flossing removes the plaque in between your teeth and in areas that your toothbrush cannot reach. If you're unsure of how to flow, ask your dentist to show you the proper technique. Nutrition also plays an important role in preventing tooth decay. Eat a balanced diet and avoid snacking on foods containing sugars and starches unless you can brush and floss immediately afterwards. Contact your dentist immediately if you feel tooth pain, sensitivity to hot or cold, or notice signs of decay like white spots, discolorations, or cavities. The longer you wait for treatment, the longer the treatment may take, and the more likely you could experience permanent tooth decay or tooth loss. Finally, visit your dentist at least every six months for a checkup and cleaning.
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