Stronger Health Needs Stronger Teeth

KonectHealth Team
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take care of teeth and gums
tooth decay
oral health
regular checkup

Healthy habits, including brushing and flossing, can prevent tooth decay (cavities) and gum disease. Tooth decay and gum disease can lead to pain and tooth loss.

You can prevent most problems with teeth and gums by taking these steps:

Brush your teeth 2 times a day with fluoride (“FLOOR-ide”) toothpaste.
Floss between your teeth every day.
Visit a dentist regularly for a checkup and cleaning.
Cut down on sugary foods and drinks.
Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.

What causes tooth decay and gum disease?

Plaque (“plak”) is a sticky substance that forms on your teeth. When plaque stays on your teeth too long, it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing and flossing help get plaque off your teeth so your mouth can stay healthy.

Taking care of your teeth and gums is especially important if you:

Have diabetes
Have cancer
Are an older adult
Are pregnant

Follow these tips for a healthy, beautiful smile.

Brush your teeth.

1) Brush your teeth 2 times every day. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that helps protect teeth from decay.

2) Brush in circles and use short, back-and-forth strokes.

3) Take time to brush gently along the gum line.

4) Brush your teeth for about 2 minutes each time.

5) Don’t forget to brush your tongue.

6) Get a new toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Replace your toothbrush sooner if it’s wearing out.

Floss every day.

Floss every day to remove plaque and any food between teeth that your toothbrush missed. Rinse your mouth with water after you floss.

If you aren’t sure how to floss, ask the dentist or dental assistant.

Proper way to hold floss

Flossing between upper teeth

Flossing between lower teeth

Get regular checkups at the dentist.

Visit a dentist once or twice a year for a checkup and cleaning. Get checkups even if you have no natural teeth and have dentures.

What if I don't like going to the dentist?

Some people get nervous about going to the dentist. Try these tips to help make your visit to the dentist easier:

Let your dentist know you are feeling nervous.

Choose an appointment time when you won’t feel rushed.

Cut down on sugary foods and drinks.

Choose low-sugar snacks like vegetables, fruits, and low-fat or fat-free cheese. Drink fewer sugary sodas and other drinks that can lead to tooth decay.

Quit smoking.

People who use tobacco in any form (cigarettes, cigars, pipe, smokeless tobacco) are at higher risk for gum disease and oral (mouth) cancer.

Drink alcohol only in moderation.

Drinking a lot of alcohol can increase your risk for oral cancer. If you choose to drink, have only a moderate amount. This means no more than 1 drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.

Take care of your children's teeth.

If you have kids, help them learn good habits for a healthy mouth. Start cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they come in.

Snack on vegetables and fruits like carrots and apples.