- Choose a toothbrush with soft, round-ended, nylon bristles.
- Wet the brush with water. Apply enough paste to cover the bristles. Always use a fluoride toothpaste.
- Place the brush along the gum line on an angle and brush in a back and forth motion along the entire surface of your teeth.
- For the inner sides of front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up and down strokes using the front half of the brush.
- Clean the biting surfaces of your teeth. Use a gentle back and forth scrubbing motion.
- To help reduce odor-causing bacteria, always brush your tongue from front to back.
- Brush for 2-3 minutes after every meal or at least twice a day.
- Replace your brush every 2-3 months, sooner if bristles are frayed or worn.
- Cut off an 18in. piece of dental floss.
- Wrap each end around each index finger. Use your thumbs to secure it in place between your teeth.
- Pull the floss taut and with a gentle back and forth motion. Slide it between your teeth and down under the gum line.
- Scrape the tooth surface several times, beginning below the gum line and moving to the top of the tooth.
- Release the tension from the floss so you can wrap it around the surface of the next tooth that is to be cleaned.
- Continue until you have flossed all tooth surfaces.
- Floss at least once a day.
To help keep your white teeth their whitest:
- Recognize the foods that can stain your teeth, such as cherries, blueberries, raspberries, even soy sauce.
- Be aware of the beverages that can discolor your teeth: coffee, tea, wine, even beer
- Read the warning labels on prescription medications; some can change tooth color.
- Some antibiotics and even some over-the-counter antihistamines can discolor teeth — read warning labels and ask your pharmacist.
- Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and chewing tobacco will, over time, stain your teeth.