Preventive dental care is important throughout your life, no matter your age. By practicing good oral hygiene at home and scheduling regular checkups with your dentist, you can help keep your smile bright and healthy for many years to come. Here are a few simple ways that you can prevent the build-up of plaque and cavities:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Use fluoride toothpaste to remove food particles and plaque from the tooth surfaces. Also be sure to brush the top surface of your tongue; this will remove any extra plaque-causing food particles, and help keep your breath fresh!
Clean between your teeth by flossing at least once a day. In addition, you can use a mouthwash to help kill bacteria and freshen your breath. Decay-causing bacteria can linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can't reach. Floss and mouthwash will help remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.
- Eat a balanced diet, and try to avoid extra-sugary treats. Nutritious foods such as raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese or fruit can help keep your smile healthy.
- Remember to schedule regular checkups and professional cleanings with your dentist.
- It is important to remember that the interval between professional cleaning differs between children and adults: Children without orthodontics are typically seen every six months for cleaning and examination. Children with orthodontics should be seen every three months for a cleaning and two examinations each year. Most adults require a periodontal maintenance cleaning schedule of 3 or 4 months and two examinations per year.
- If you play sports, be sure to ask your dentist about special mouthguards designed to protect your smile.