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Brush Up on Good Dental Care

Tried and true tips to maintain terrific teeth

SUNDAY, Feb. 12, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- A brush, a piece of floss, and the right routine: Experts say these are the simple ingredients to a brighter, whiter, healthier smile.

And to mark National Dental Health Month, the U.S. Department of veterans Affairs offers the following dental care tips:

  • Brush. Brush teeth at least twice a day with a soft bristle toothbrush. Brushing removes plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that can mix with sugars and starches to produce an acid that can cause cavities. If allowed to build up, plaque can eventually destroy the gums and bones that support teeth.
  • Floss. Flossing every day removes tough-to-reach debris from between teeth.
  • Cut down on sticky snacks. Reduce the amount of sugars and starches you eat. This may help protect teeth from damaging acid attacks.
  • Go for cleanings. Have teeth professionally cleaned by a dental hygienist once every six months or as directed by a dentist.
  • Use fluoride toothpastes. Local drinking water should also contain fluoride. Be aware that some bottled drinking water doesn't contain fluoride.
  • Take fluoride further. Use a fluoride rinse or a prescription-strength brush-on fluoride if recommended by a dentist.

More information

The American Dental Association has more about oral health.

SOURCE: Department of Veterans Affairs, news release, Jan. 31, 2006
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