Commit to a Meticulous Oral Hygiene Regimen
Your first line of defense against developing cavities is practicing good oral hygiene every day. You should brush at least twice a day, especially after meals and before bedtime, using an ADA-approved toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. Brush your teeth in soft, short strokes for about 2 minutes each time to remove as much plaque and leftover food debris as possible. You should gently brush your tongue, too.
In addition to brushing, flossing should be done at least once a day. Flossing removes plaque and food particles that are stuck between teeth and along the gumline. Flossing is imperative for disrupting the colonies of bacteria that form along the gums and in hard-to-reach areas between teeth. Adopting proper oral hygiene not only wards off tooth decay, but it also helps reduce the likelihood of developing gum disease.
To help yourself and your family members adopt healthy oral hygiene habits, consider the following tips. Use a timer to ensure that you and your family are brushing your teeth for the recommended amount of time. Create an oral hygiene to-do chart on a dry erase board or on poster board to track your family's progress. This visual aid is especially useful for children and can be decorated with stickers to make oral hygiene fun. Watch your children's brushing habits and provide positive encouragement to foster improvement.