Basic Dental Care - Home Treatment
Floss at least once a day. The type
of floss you use is not important. Choose the type and flavor that you like
best. Use any of the following methods:
finger-wrap method : Cut off a piece of floss
18 in. (45 cm) to
20 in. (50 cm) long. Wrap one
end around your left middle finger and the other end around your right middle
finger, until your hands are about
2 in. (5 cm) to
3 in. (8 cm)
circle method : Use a piece of floss about
12 in. (30 cm) long. Tie the
ends together, forming a loop. If the loop is too large, wrap the floss around
your fingers to make it smaller.
- A plastic flossing tool that makes
flossing easier: Child-size
flossing tools are available for parents to use to floss their children's teeth.
You can buy them at most drugstores.
Gently work the floss between the teeth toward the gums.
Curve the floss around each tooth into a U-shape, and gently slide it under the
gum line. Move the floss firmly up and down several times to scrape off the
plaque. Popping the floss in and out between the teeth without scraping will
not remove much plaque and can hurt your gums.
You may want to try
electric cleaning devices (interdental cleaning devices or interdental brushes)
that are made to clean between your teeth. They can be as effective as using
If your gums bleed when you floss, the bleeding
should stop as your gums become healthier and tighter next to your
Eat a mouth-healthy diet
- Eat a balanced diet that includes whole
grains, vegetables, and fruits and is low in saturated fat and sodium. Good
nutrition is vital to maintaining healthy gums and avoiding tooth decay.
- Mozzarella and other cheeses, peanuts, yogurt, milk, and
sugar-free chewing gum (especially gum that contains xylitol) are good for your
teeth. They help clear your mouth of harmful sugars and protect against plaque.
These make great after-meal snacks.
- Avoid foods that contain a lot
of sugar, especially sticky, sweet foods like taffy and raisins. The longer
sugar stays in contact with your teeth, the more damage the sugar will
- Do not snack before bedtime, because food left on the teeth is
more likely to cause cavities at night. Saliva production decreases while you
sleep, so saliva does not clean the mouth well during sleeping hours.