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|Dental care is about more than brushing your teeth. Learn how caring for your gums and mouth is an important part of a good oral hygiene routine.|
If you brush your teeth at least twice a day, you are off to a good start on the journey to optimal oral health. However, for many Americans brushing their teeth is the entirety of their daily oral care routine, and they neglect their gums and other areas of their mouths. To keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong, it's important to take a "whole mouth health" approach to your dental care.
Flossing is an essential part of any good oral hygiene routine that is often neglected by Americans. Flossing can remove food particles and bacteria that can become lodged between the teeth and at the gum line, where your toothbrush can't reach. As gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States, keeping your gums healthy is a necessary step on the way to whole mouth health.
In addition to daily brushing and flossing, a healthy diet is crucial to maintaining a healthy mouth. The ADA recommends that you eat a variety of foods from each of the basic food groups in order to get the vitamins and minerals that are essential to oral health . It's also a good idea to limit snacks between meals and to avoid foods high in sugar, which can be detrimental to your teeth.
Maintaining a well-rounded oral health routine at home is essential to keeping your teeth and gums in top condition, but the ADA maintains that it's still important to visit your dentist twice a year for a comprehensive examination and cleaning. During your twice annual visit to the dentist, a hygienist will gently remove tartar and give your teeth a cleaning more thorough than you can perform at home. X-rays will also be performed to help your dentist see whether the underlying structures of your mouth are healthy. Your regular visit to the dentist's office is also a good opportunity to review your oral hygiene routine with your dentist and to discuss any techniques or products that may be helpful in maintaining oral health. For a complete list of over-the-counter oral health products approved by the American Dental Association, visit www.ada.org.
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