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Good oral health is important, but it’s not achieved solely through brushing twice a day. You need to create an entire oral hygiene routine if you want your teeth – and oral health – to stay in tip-top shape. And, with the proven link between oral health and your overall well-being, it’s worth the few extra minutes a day to make sure you’re doing the small things in order to keep your mouth healthy.

When shopping for oral hygiene products, you should only consider those that have earned the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance because it is safe and effective.

When brushing your teeth, you should use a soft-bristled toothbrush and abrasive toothpaste. A toothpaste with fluoride will also help fortify the strength of your tooth enamel.

Immediately after you are done brushing, you should floss between your teeth and along the gumline. Flossing is the most effective way to remove plaque and trapped food particles from your smile and prevent tooth decay and gum disease. If you have a hard time working floss between your teeth, you might want to use a wax-coated dental floss. The waxy coating makes it easier to slip the strain of floss into tight spaces without accidentally forcing it into your gums.

You can also rinse your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash to kill bacteria and freshen your breath.

In addition to oral hygiene, you will need to attend your six month checkups. Your regular dental checkup and cleaning with your dentist, Dr. David Duke, will remove any hardened tartar from your teeth while also detecting early signs of tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer.

It might seem cumbersome to go to all this trouble just for clean teeth, but consider how much of a pain it is for reconstructive dental procedures, and you’ll willingly take the extra steps now to prevent oral health problems in the future.