Proper brushing

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Updated: 1/14/2003 1:29 pm Published: 1/14/2003 1:29 pm

Proper brushing habits are essential in preventing tooth decay and keeping a clean, fresh mouth. Brushing your teeth after both meals and snacking helps to remove loose food particles and plaque. Plaque is a sticky film material that grows on and around your teeth and is the primary cause of tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss in adults. Ask your dentist to recommend a toothbrush. Brush thoroughly at least twice a day. Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and gently brush back and forth or in a circular motion depending on the advice of your dentist. Each stroke should cover a few teeth at a time gradually reaching your entire mouth. Don't forget to brush the back of your teeth surfaces and your very back teeth since plaque deposits are usually very heavy in these areas. Damage to your tooth enamel and gums can occur if you brush too harshly. Remember to use short gentle strokes. Many dentists recommend brushing for three to four minutes at least twice a day using a soft bristle toothbrush. Brushing immediately after eating stops sugars and starches from turning into the acids that cause plaque and eventual tooth decay. As all dental situations are unique, ask your dentist or hygienist for their brushing suggestions. Keep in mind that brushing alone will not prevent tooth decay. A combination of flossing, rinsing, professional cleaning, and regular checkups by your dentist are the best prevention for tooth decay, and enjoying oral health.

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