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Health > Dental Health > Tips for healthy teeth

Tips for healthy teeth and gums

Maintain a healthy smile with a few simple oral hygiene habits.

Don't take your smile for granted. Maintain a healthy mouth by routinely practicing good oral hygiene habits and reporting problems.

Routine care

Clean your teeth daily and see your dentist one to two times a year to prevent gum disease and other oral problems.

To clean your teeth properly, brush them at least twice a day — plus preferably after each meal and snack — and floss daily. Also follow these other tips:

  • Use a soft-bristled brush — it's gentler on the gums.
  • Place your brush at an angle against your teeth, and use short back-and-forth motions to clean your teeth. Also clean the inside and chewing surfaces of the teeth and your tongue.
  • Replace your brush every three months.
  • When you floss, gently ease the floss between your teeth. Then pull the ends of the floss against the front and back surface of a tooth so that the floss forms a "C" as it wraps around the tooth. Gently pull the floss from the gumline to the top of the tooth to scrape off plaque. Remember to floss the backs of your teeth and to expose fresh floss between your fingers as you progress through your teeth.
Report problems

In addition to regular care and dental appointments, call your dentist if you develop any of the following signs and symptoms of gum disease:

  • Red, tender, swollen gums
  • Gums that bleed when you brush them, even if they're not sore
  • Gums that are pulling away from your teeth; you may notice that your teeth seem longer
  • Pus around your teeth and gums when you press on the gums
  • A continual bad taste in your mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • Changes in the way your top and bottom teeth touch, or changes in the feel of your dentures

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