Follow these tips for a healthy, beautiful smile.
Brush your teeth.
Brush your teeth 2 times every day. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is a mineral that helps protect teeth from decay.
- Brush in circles and use short, back-and-forth strokes.
- Take time to brush gently along the gum line.
- Don’t forget to brush your tongue.
- Get a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. (Replace your toothbrush sooner if it’s wearing out.)
Floss every day.
Floss every day to remove plaque and any food between teeth that your toothbrush missed. Rinse your mouth with water after you floss.
If you aren’t sure if you are doing it right, ask the dentist or dental assistant to show you how to floss at your next appointment.
Get regular checkups at the dentist.
Visit a dentist once or twice a year for checkups and cleaning. Get checkups even if you have no natural teeth and have dentures. If you have problems with your teeth or mouth, see a dentist right away.
Check out these questions to ask when choosing a dentist.
If you don’t like going to the dentist, make your visit easier.
Some people get nervous about going to the dentist. Try these tips to help make your visit to the dentist easier:
- Let your dentist know you are feeling nervous.
- Choose an appointment time when you won’t feel rushed.
- Take headphones and a music player to your next appointment.
What about cost?
You can still get dental care even if you don’t have insurance.
Cut down on sugary foods and drinks.
Choose low-sugar snacks like vegetables, fruits, and low-fat or fat-free cheese. Drink fewer sugary sodas and other drinks that can lead to tooth decay.
Using tobacco in any form (cigarettes, cigars, pipe, smokeless tobacco) raises your risk for getting gum disease and oral (mouth) cancer.
Drink alcohol only in moderation.
Drinking a lot of alcohol can increase your risk for oral cancer. If you choose to drink, have only a moderate amount. This means no more than 1 drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.
Set good tooth care habits for the whole family.
If you have kids, help them learn good habits for a healthy mouth. Start cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they come in. Your child’s first (baby) teeth are important because they hold space for adult teeth.
Get tips on how to take care of your child’s teeth.