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Oral Healthcare

Good oral healthcare can help ensure the health of your teeth, mouth, and gums. Keys to good oral healthcare include brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing at least once a day, seeing your dentist at least twice a year, and eating healthy meals low in sugars and starches. If you have diabetes, good oral healthcare is particularly important.

Oral Healthcare: An Overview

There are small, easy steps you can take to have a healthy smile. The key to a healthy smile involves good oral healthcare.
Good oral healthcare includes:
  • Brushing and flossing each day
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • Seeing your dentist at least twice a year.

Oral Healthcare: Brushing and Flossing

For good oral healthcare, brush your teeth at least twice each day. Aim for first thing in the morning and before going to bed. Once a day, use floss or an interdental cleaner to clean between teeth to remove food that your toothbrush missed.
Additional steps include the following:
  • Drink fluoridated water if you can. Fluoride's protection against dental decay works at all ages. Most communities in the United States are served with public water systems that have added fluoride, but not everyone lives in a community with a centralized, public, or private water source that can be fluoridated. Check with your community's water department or health department to find out if there is fluoride in your water. You also may want to use a fluoride mouth rinse along with brushing and flossing to help prevent tooth decay and maintain good oral healthcare.
  • Gently brush all sides of your teeth with a soft-bristled brush and a fluoride toothpaste. Circular and short, back-and-forth strokes work best.
  • Take time to brush along the gum line, and lightly brush your tongue to help remove plaque and food debris.
  • Ask your dentist or dental hygienist to show you the best way to floss your teeth.
  • Change your toothbrush at least every three months or earlier if the toothbrush looks worn. A new toothbrush can remove more plaque than one that's more than three months old.
  • If you wear dentures, be sure to remove them at night and clean them before putting them back in the next morning.
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