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Maintaining good oral health

Don’t overlook dental hygiene in your quest for total wellness. These basic steps will protect your teeth and gums and keep you smiling for years to come:

  • Brush at least twice a day (make it a point to brush at bedtime). Many people don’t brush for a long enough period of time. To ensure you do, turn on the radio and brush for the duration of one song. Clean all surfaces, front and back.
  • Floss at least once a day. Flossing helps remove plaque (bacteria that builds up on teeth, leading to cavities and gum disease) from hard-to-reach surfaces near the gumline.
  • Choose a toothbrush with three or four rows of soft, rounded bristles and replace about every three months.
  • See your dentist once a year for a thorough checkup and have your teeth professionally cleaned every six months.
  • Be aware of the signs of gum disease. Redness, swelling or bleeding are early signs of gingivitis, inflammation of the gums. If allowed to progress, gingivitis can destroy the periodontal tissues that support the teeth. Severe gum disease usually leads to the loss of teeth, so take steps to reverse gingivitis. See your dentist and be vigilant about oral hygiene.
  • Avoid sweets. The bacteria that live in your mouth use sugar to produce acids that destroy tooth enamel.