Brushing Your Teeth
- Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime! Tooth decay, or cavities, and
periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, can be avoided or reduced by
the daily removal of plaque.
- Plaque is made up of germs that live on your teeth all the time. It is
important to remove this plaque daily to prevent these germs from making acid
and other products that can cause cavities and harm your gums and the bone
around your teeth.
- If you spend less than three minutes brushing your teeth, all the plaque
is probably not being removed. Also, a toothbrush with worn-out bristles cannot
clean your teeth properly. Try to replace your toothbrush at least every three
to four months.
- A dental home care plan should include
- - daily toothbrushing with a soft toothbrush that is not worn out or
- using dental floss daily to clean areas that are hard for your toothbrush
to reach between your teeth and under the gumline
- using a toothpaste or mouthrinse with fluoride
- eating balanced meals and limiting foods high in sugar
- To brush away the plaque on your teeth, follow these steps:
- Start by brushing the sides of your teeth that touch your cheek. Angle
your toothbrush so it is up against your teeth and gums and jiggle the
toothbrush back and forth in small strokes. Do only a few teeth at a time, and
do it several times in each spot.
- When you have completed the cheek side of your top and bottom teeth, brush
the side that faces your tongue on the top and bottom teeth in the same way.
- Brush the flat, chewing surfaces of your top and bottom teeth. These
surfaces have many deep grooves where germs can hide out. Brush
your tongue when you finish brushing your teeth to help your mouth feel
fresher. To maintain the health of your teeth and gums, clean in between your
teeth with dental floss after toothbrushing.
For more information, contact
Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Oral Health
535 W. Jefferson St., Springfield, IL 62761
217-785-4899, TTY (hearing impaired use only) 800-547-0466
NOTE: This fact sheet was derived from one previously published by the
Arizona Department of Health Services.