Having proper oral hygiene is the first step (if not the most important) in having healthy teeth and gums. You should brush your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste or whatever is recommended by your dentist. It is important to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or whenever you notice that the bristles are frayed. This is because an older, worn toothbrush won’t clean your teeth as well as a newer one.
Flossing is extremely important and should be done at least once a day. This is because layers of plaque and bacteria still remain on your teeth, especially in harder to reach areas, even after you brush. Flossing will remove the remaining plaque and food and reduce your risk of gum disease.
Plaque is bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums in the form of a sticky film. After you eat, your tooth enamel is attacked by the acid that plaque releases, which may lead to tooth decay. You should limit the amount you snack in between meals because these snacks will cause the plaque bacteria to release continuous acids onto your enamel, constantly wearing it down throughout the day.
The plaque and bacteria can also irritate your gums, not just your teeth. If your gums are not properly cleaned and treated, the bone around your teeth can be severely damaged and destroyed. This can possibly cause you to have your teeth removed. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Eating a well balanced diet is a good way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Limit the amount of the snacks in between your meals to avoid unnecessary build up and plaque. If you must snack, choose items such as fresh, raw veggies, plain yogurt, fruit, or cheese.