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New Year's resolution: Take care of your oral health

Looking for a New Year's resolution for 2009? How about rededicating yourself to taking care of your mouth, teeth and gums? It's a resolution that will pay dividends for your health and your smile for a lifetime.

Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won't do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
  • Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner. Decay-causing bacteria still linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can't reach.
  • Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.

Antimicrobial mouth rinses and toothpastes reduce the bacterial count and inhibit bacterial activity in dental plaque, which can cause gingivitis, an early, reversible form of periodontal disease.

Fluoride mouth rinses help reduce and prevent tooth decay. Clinical studies have demonstrated that using a fluoride mouth rinse and fluoride toothpaste can provide extra protection against tooth decay over that provided by fluoride toothpaste alone.

Fluoride mouth rinse is not recommended for children age six or younger because they may swallow the rinse. Always check the manufacturer's label for precautions and age recommendations and consult with your dentist about the use of fluoride mouth rinse and any other oral health care product.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

12/22/2008

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