CleaningsAn efficient oral hygiene routine is a very important part of the treatment and prophylaxis of dental disease and decay, as well as of maintaining good overall health. Poor oral hygiene can contribute to a variety of ailments, including gum disease, infection, bone loss, heart disease, strokes and much more. Because more than just the attractiveness of your smile is at stake, it is very important to create a dental health routine that works for you. Following the guidelines set by the American Dental Association, like receiving regular dental checkups and teeth cleanings, are a great place to start.

The American Dental Association recommends the following for maintenance of good oral hygiene:

– Visit your dentist regularly for professional dental cleanings and oral exams. Professional teeth cleanings can help prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar, and diagnose or treat other problems, like infections, before they get out of hand.

– Brush your teeth at least twice per day with an American Dental Association approved fluoride toothpaste.

– Replace your toothbrush at least every three or four months, or as soon as the bristles begin to fray. Not only will a worn toothbrush do a less-than-excellent job of cleaning your teeth, failing to replace the brush often enough can result in the growth of bacteria on the toothbrush itself.

– Clean between your teeth daily. This can be done with standard floss, or with other interdental cleaning tools. It is important to remember that, if allowed to linger where the bristles of your toothbrush can’t reach, bacteria trapped between teeth can lead to tooth decay and even infection. Regularly cleaning teeth with floss helps remove the buildup of food particles between the tooth and below the gum line, as well as the sticky film of plaque that can accumulate there.

– Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. Remember, some types of particularly sugary or acidic foods can contribute to tooth decay. Additionally, because most people don’t brush after every meal and snack, limiting between-meal snacks can reduce the amount of food particulate left to decay on and between teeth before your next brushing.

These recommendations provide an excellent guideline for creating your own dental cleaning routine. A good teeth cleaning routine is a great way to prevent cavities and other ailments, so be sure to talk to your dentist about what you can do to improve yours at your next visit.