Daily dental care is just as important as maintaining your routine dental appointments. Brushing morning and night for two minutes is required to properly remove plaque buildup. Depending on your diet and the spacing of your teeth, your dental professional may suggest that you increase the number of times you brush per day.

Angle the bristles toward the gum line, brush the outside surface, inside surface, and chewing surface of each tooth. Brush your tongue to prevent bad breath; the white film you find on your tongue is bacteria buildup.

Toothbrushes do have a limited life span, so, be sure to replace your toothbrush every three months and after being sick!


Flossing alone cleans 40% of the tooth surface. Flossing at least once per day helps clean areas that your toothbrush can’t reach. It can help remove plaque build-up and remaining food particles which can cause cavities and gum disease.

Oral Rinse (Mouthwash)

Using an oral rinse (also called mouthwash or mouth rinse) may be a helpful addition to your oral care routine.  An oral rinse has active ingredients that kill bacteria and can help reduce plaque, gingivitis, and bad breath.

A mouth rinse with fluoride helps prevent or reduce tooth decay. Studies have shown that oral rinses can reduce more plaque and more signs of gingivitis when used in addition to tooth brushing compared with tooth brushing alone.

Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a serious oral health condition that can damage the hard and soft tissue around the teeth.

Gum disease can range from a mild form known as gingivitis that has signs such as red, irritated gums that can bleed easily to a serious condition that causes the gums to become swollen and pull away from the teeth and form pockets that become infected known as periodontitis.

Healthy gums are firm, pale pink, and fit closely around teeth. If you have:

  • Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
  • Tender/sore gums
  • Persistent bad breath, or
  • Difficulty flossing

Make an appointment with your dental provider as soon as you can.

Signs of Cavities

In between your routine visits to a dental provider, it is useful to perform regular visual inspections of your teeth.

  • White and brown spots on your teeth are early signs of cavities.
  • Black spots, and holes in your teeth are signs of moderate to severe tooth decay.
  • Sensitivity to foods high in sugar.
  • Pain near your ear or the bottom of your jaw

When signs of moderate to severe tooth decay are visible, it is wise to schedule a visit with your dental provider, to prevent the infection from spreading.

Signs of Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Bruxism is a condition in which you grind or clench your teeth. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth when you’re awake or clench or grind them during sleep.

If you suffer from:

  • Sore cheek muscles
  • Sore jaw
  • Sensitive teeth

…and you notice the length of your teeth shortening, you may be grinding or clenching your teeth. Let your dental provider know of these signs so that they can provide or recommend a preventive appliance, such as a mouth guard to protect your teeth.