Proper brushing and flossing helps minimize
the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, the PROPER FLOSSING
major causes of tooth loss. Use a soft-bristle
brush and an ADA-accepted fluoride Use an 18-inch strand around your middle
toothpaste to remove plaque and food fingers and hold a one-inch section tightly.
particles. Replace your brush every 3 months
For those times when you just can’t brush, you
PROPER BRUSHING can chew sugar-free gum. Specifically, gum
with xylitol as one of the active ingredients.
Investigators at the University of Minnesota,
Outer and Inner Surfaces: Brush at a 45
School of Dentistry found that chewing gum
degree angle towards the gums and use small
containing xylitol for at least 5 minutes after
circular motions at the gum line.
Ease the floss between teeth. Clean up and meals can suppress the growth of bacteria that
down several times while curving the floss cause cavities.
around the teeth at the gum line.
Chewing Surfaces: Hold the brush on the REDUCE YOUR CAVITY RISK
chewing surfaces and brush back and forth.
Always floss behind the last tooth. Unwind
clean floss as you proceed.
Inside Surfaces of Front Teeth: Tilt the
brush vertically and use gentle up and down
strokes using the tip of the brush. To reduce your risk of developing cavities
don’t sip on sugary drinks; which include
soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweet tea
and juice. The acid found in these products
has been proven to erode the enamel on teeth.
Limit your intake to 30 minutes at a time and
then wait at least 2 ½ hours before drinking
these again. Chew sugarless gum or rinse
Tongue: Brush in a back-to-front sweeping WHEN TO CLEAN with water after a sugary drink, especially if
motion to remove food particles and freshen you can’t brush and floss.
your mouth. Brush and floss after meals and especially at
night. Saliva flow is reduced during sleep,
which allows the bacteria that causes gum
disease and cavities to flourish.
- Is strongly linked to oral cancer
- Increases your risk for cavities
- Increases your risk for gum disease
- Increases your blood pressure, heart rate
and cholesterol levels
TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR
Smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative
to cigarettes. For more information on
cessation programs call the HAWC at
To help keep your mouth healthy, always
remember that a healthy diet is the best
way to go. Avoid snacks that are high in
sugar and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates
break down into sugar in the mouth; this
can increase your risk for cavities.
Scott AFB Dental Clinic