If your teeth are clean, you are far less likely to develop tooth decay. A clean mouth also lowers your risk for gum disease, tooth shifting or loss, and even systemic illnesses. Most people are aware that they need to brush and floss, but you may be unsure exactly what the proper schedule would be. Here is how often to brush, floss, and have your teeth professionally cleaned.
It is best to brush your teeth after every meal. If that is impossible, aim for at least twice per day. Use a soft-bristled brush that feels comfortable in both your hand and your mouth. It also matters how long you brush your teeth. Spend 30 seconds in each quadrant of your mouth, for a total of two minutes each brushing. People are notoriously bad at calculating time, so consider using an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer or setting a separate timer to tell you when to switch quadrants.
If you are unable to brush your teeth right after a meal or snack, rinse your mouth thoroughly. You can also stimulate saliva production throughout the day by sucking on sugar-free hard candy or chewing unsweetened gum.
Floss your teeth once every day with traditional floss, or a plastic interdental cleaner. It is best to floss your teeth first, followed by brushing. Work steadily but slowly, and be careful not to make any sudden or sharp movements that could cut your gums. If you are unsure of proper flossing technique, ask your dentist or hygienist for a demonstration.
Most people need a professional dental cleaning once every six months. Those who are at high risk for dental disease such as periodontal disease, though, may need cleanings every three months instead. If it has been awhile since your last cleaning, you might need a deep cleaning known as scaling and root planing. If you are undergoing active treatment for gum disease or other issues, you might need to have your teeth cleaned even more often. Your dentist will advise you on the right cleaning schedule for your unique situation.
Keeping your mouth clean and healthy is a lifelong process that requires you to maintain focus and dedication. However, it is an easy and inexpensive way to prevent painful and costly dental treatments later on. Unless your dentist suggests a different schedule, follow the guidelines above. With a bit of hard work, you can ensure that your mouth remains clean and disease-free.