We only get one set of teeth in life; it is important to take good care of them. Here are 8 tips to follow as you strive for healthy teeth and gums.

1. Brush your teeth twice per day for 2 minutes at a time. Do not brush immediately after eating, especially if you have ingested anything acidic. Brush teeth gently, in a circular motion. Be sure to brush your tongue or use a tongue-scraper as well. The tongue can be a breeding ground for bacteria in your mouth.

2. Use a soft-bristled brush and fluoride-fortified toothpaste. Or if possible, invest in an electric or battery-powered brush. This will significantly reduce the occurrence of plaque and gingivitis.

3. Replace your toothbrush every 3 months. Do this more frequently if your brush’s bristles are becoming flat.

4. Always rinse your brush with water when you are finished brushing, and let it air-dry. Covering your brush can lead to the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mold.

5. Never underestimate the importance of flossing. Bacteria live in the small spaces between your teeth. To floss effectively, use a long piece of floss (18″ or so), wrap it around a finger on each hand, and glide the floss between your teeth gently. If you have difficulty maneuvering floss, invest in a pre-threaded or water-flosser. It makes no difference if you floss or brush your teeth first. Never use toothpicks or other pointed objects, as they may harm your gums and let in bacteria.

6. Use a fluoride-containing mouthwash for extra protection against cavities.

7. Quit smoking. Tobacco use increases your risk of developing gum disease and losing teeth.

8. Visit Hanson Dental regularly for examinations and cleanings to prevent gum disease and other dental issues. You might think that regular dental visits are too costly, but by keeping up with cleaning and exams, you can avoid costly and painful procedures down the road. And be sure to schedule a dental visit if you experience any of the following:

• Sore, red, swollen, or bleeding gums
• Loose permanent teeth
• Hot or cold sensitivity
• Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth that will not subside
• Pain while chewing

Preventive care can go a long way toward ensuring good dental health. Using the right equipment, with the appropriate technique, on a regular basis, will help you maintain strong, healthy teeth and gums.

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