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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Dentistry Daily Tips for Good Oral Hygiene

Daily Tips for Good Oral Hygiene

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Bacteria can live in your mouth in the form of plaque, causing cavities and gingivitis, which can lead to periodontal (gum) disease. In order to keep your mouth clean, you must practice good oral hygiene every day.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a sticky layer of material containing bacteria that accumulates on teeth, including where toothbrushes can't reach. Many of the foods we eat cause the bacteria in the  mouth to produce acids. Sugary foods are obvious sources of plaque, but there are others that we might not realize can cause harm. Starches such as bread, crackers, and cereals also cause acids to form. Plaque also produces substances that irritate the gums, making them red, sensitive, and susceptible to bleeding. This can lead to gum disease, in which gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that fill with bacteria and pus. If the gums are not treated, the bone around the teeth can be destroyed and teeth may become loose or have to be removed.

How can I get rid of plaque?

The best way to remove plaque is by brushing and cleaning between the teeth every day. Brushing removes plaque from the tooth surfaces. Brush your teeth twice per day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your toothbrush should fit your mouth and allow you to reach all areas easily. Avoid harsh brushinhg and use of hard bristles. Use an antimicrobial toothpaste containing fluoride, which helps protect your teeth from decay. Clean between the teeth once a day with floss or interdental cleaners to remove plaque from between the teeth, where the toothbrush can't reach. Flossing is essential to prevent gum disease.

Is there anything else I can use to clean my mouth?

A mouth rinse, in addition to daily brushing and flossing, can increase the cleanliness of your mouth. Antimicrobial mouth rinses reduce bacteria and plaque activity, which cause gingivitis and gum disease. Fluoride mouth rinses also help reduce and prevent tooth decay. Always talk to your dentist about any new products you are interested in trying. Not everyone should use a fluoride mouth rinse. For instance, fluoride rinses are not recommended for children ages 6 or younger because they may swallow them. Always check the manufacturer's label for precautions and age recommendations and talk with your dentist about the use of fluoride mouth rinse.