Brushing, flossing and nutritious snacks can help keep your teeth healthy. Here are some tips and ideas to help you toward a brighter smile.
Use a soft, round-ended nylon bristle brush. Begin by placing the head of the brush next to your teeth, with the bristles angled against your gum line. Brush each tooth individually, moving the brush in small circles. When you have brushed the outer surfaces of each tooth, then use the same technique on the inside surfaces of upper and lower front teeth. Hold the brush vertically and make several up and down strokes over the teeth and gums. Finish by lightly scrubbing the chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth. Finally, for fresher breath, give your tongue a light brushing.
No one brand or type of dental floss is really better than another, however, you may find that waxed floss is easier to use. First, break off about 18 inches of floss and wind the ends around the middle fingers of each hand. Next, grasp the floss with the thumb and forefinger of each hand, leaving about an inch to work with. Pull the floss tight and using a sawing motion, insert it between two teeth. When the floss has reached the gum between the teeth, curve it into a C-shape against one of the teeth and the gum. Holding the floss tightly against the tooth, scrape it up and down a few times. Without removing it, curve the floss around the adjacent tooth and repeat the process. Continue the same technique with the rest of your teeth. When you're finished, rinse well with water.
Of course, everyone knows that sticky candy and sugar-sweetened soft drinks are hard on teeth, but so are some fruit juices. Even natural juices contain high amounts of sugar. Many are naturally acidic and can cause dental erosion. Among the best snacks are: popcorn, bananas, milk and cheese. In fact, researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry found that aged cheese, especially Swiss, Cheddar and Monterey Jack contain an anti-cavity substance that retards decay and protects teeth.