Education: Basic Oral Health Care

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the following steps for good oral hygiene:
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
  • Clean between teeth daily with floss or an inter-dental cleaner. Decay-causing bacteria still linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Flossing removes 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 oral care products will be most effective for you. The ADA Seal on a product is your assurance that it has met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness. Look for the ADA Seal on fluoride toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, inter-dental cleaners, oral irrigators, mouth rinses, and other oral hygiene products.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed. A worn toothbrush will not do a good job of cleaning your teeth. Children’s toothbrushes often need replacing more frequently than adults’ because they wear out sooner.
Brushing Your Teeth
  • Brush twice daily.
  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Place your brush at a slight angle towards your gums when brushing along the gum line.
  • Use a gentle touch on the teeth.
  • Concentrate on cleaning all tooth surfaces.
  • Brushing your tongue can help remove bacteria that cause bad breath.