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5. Switch Things Up

Do you always begin brushing in the same place? Dentists say most of us do.

"Start in a different place so that you don't get lazy," Price says. By the time you get to the last area of your mouth, you may be bored. Stay aware of what you’re doing.

“Keep track of where you are going and where you have been. Make it to all the surfaces,” Sesemann says.  

6. Pick Products Wisely

The kind of toothpaste you use matters, he says. The things that brighten or control tartar can be harsh. “An increase in whitening particles can be harmful and sand away tooth structure.”

Go back to plain old fluoride toothpaste, he says. If you want to lighten your smile, you can always switch between whitening toothpaste and regular.

7. Control Your Sour Tooth

Energy drinks, diet sodas, and sour candies -- even healthy things like apple juice, orange juice, and coffee -- have acid that can soften tooth enamel, Sesemann says.

If you do go for sour goodies, wait half an hour before you brush. That gives your saliva time to restore tooth enamel. “The mechanical action of brushing softened teeth is the perfect recipe for wearing away enamel,” Sesemann says.

8. Keep It Clean

Do you always rinse your brush? You should. Germs from your mouth and teeth can stay on it if you don’t.  It will also get rid of leftover toothpaste that can harden bristles.

You shouldn’t use a disinfectant to cleanse your toothbrush. Just rinse it and let it air dry. Don't put it in a case where it will stay damp for a long time.

9. Avoid Potty Mouth

Most of us store our brushes in the bathroom -- not the cleanest place in the house.

To keep yours tidy, stand it up in a holder. If you leave it on the counter, you could expose it to germs from your toilet or sink. Don’t let brushes touch each other if they’re stored together.

Let it air dry -- a moist brush is more likely to grow bacteria. Use a cover that lets air in when you travel.

10. Let It Go

How old is your toothbrush? The ADA suggests you get a new brush every 3 or 4 months. 

You can also look at the bristles. "Once the bristles lose their normal flexibility and start to break apart, change your toothbrush," Price says.

Frayed or broken bristles won’t clean your teeth as well.  If you can’t decide which toothbrush to buy, ask your dentist what kind is best.

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