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Do you ever stop and think about how important your daily oral hygiene efforts are to your smile? They are crucial! You are the main line of defense when it comes to protecting your teeth and gums from the ravages of tooth decay and gum disease in between our dental cleanings and exams.

You see, bacteria in the mouth never take time off. And because bacteria thrive in the mouth, it rests on you to clean teeth and gums every day to prevent the bacterial buildup known as “plaque” from attacking your smile. The food you eat (and drink) feeds oral bacteria and produces acids that attack the teeth and gums. Sugary, starchy foods especially help bacteria form into dental plaque, and you can feel plaque when you run your tongue along the teeth before brushing. This sticky film will harden and cause problems between the teeth and along the gumline.

Plaque acids weaken tooth enamel and irritate gum tissue unless it is removed. And it’s not just cavities that will arise when the enamel is weakened. Over time, gum irritation makes them pull away from the teeth and form pockets which fill up with bacteria and pus. Without treatment, your teeth will loosen and fall out.

This is where your oral hygiene efforts make all the difference. To keep plaque in check, brush at least twice a day and floss once a day. While a toothbrush clears plaque along tooth surfaces, dental flossing clears plaque along the gumline and in between the teeth where your brush can’t clean.

Use a toothbrush with a small head so that you can reach the molars and a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect gum tissue and tooth enamel. If you are cavity prone, you can use an antimicrobial toothpaste with fluoride. To lower bacteria in the mouth, you can rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash once a day, and we are happy to give you personalized advice depending on your oral health.

If you would like more personalized information, or to schedule your next cleaning, please call our Gill Family Dentistry team at (209) 566-1986 today. Our dentist, Dr. Amandeep Gill and staff in Modesto, California, are here to work with you to create your healthiest smile!