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Ten Lesser-Known Tips for Dental Care

Properly caring for your teeth not only keeps your smile looking its best; it can help you avoid a variety of dental and other health problems. You probably know the basics—visit your dentist at least twice a year, and brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day—but what else can you do?

Here are some lesser-known tips for taking great care of your oral health.

  1. Be thorough. Set a timer and brush your teeth for a full two minutes. Less than that, and you may be leaving behind bacteria.
  2. When brushing, include your gums along with your teeth. This will help stimulate blood flow and improve your gum health.
  3. When flossing, wrap the floss around the tooth in a C shape before moving it up and down; this will cover more of the tooth surface. And don’t forget to floss along the back of the teeth in the very back of your mouth.
  4. Try a plastic floss holder, sold next to toothbrushes in most grocery and drug stores. These two-pronged plastic tools allow you to clean between teeth with one hand.
  5. Chew sugar-free gum. Studies show that this stimulates the production of saliva, which can help reduce cavities. It can also trap bacteria and neutralize plaque acids.
  6. Use mouth rinse to help reduce plaque.
  7. Avoid soft drinks, fruit juices, and sugary foods.
  8. This time of year, we know it can be difficult to pass up all sweets. If you do enjoy a dessert – especially a sticky treat like pecan pie – be sure to drink plenty of water along with it to help wash away any food particles on your teeth.
  9. Some medications can affect oral health. Talk with your doctor if your oral health has suddenly changed after starting a new medication.
  10. Last, but not least, avoid smoking tobacco or using smokeless tobacco products. These unhealthy habits can lead to gum disease and oral cancer, not to mention bad breath!

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