Brush twice a day and floss daily.
Gum disease and tooth decay remain big problems — and not just for older people. Three-fourths of teenagers have gums that bleed, according to the ADHA. Along with the basic advice, remember:
- Toothbrushes should be changed 3 to 4 times a year.
- Teenagers with braces may need to use special toothbrushes and other oral hygiene tools to brush their teeth. Talk to your dentist or orthodontist.
- Older people with arthritis or other problems may have trouble holding a toothbrush or using floss.
Some people find it easier to use an electric toothbrush. Others simply put a bicycle grip or foam tube over the handle of a regular toothbrush to make it easier to hold.
Rinse or chew gum after meals.
In addition to brushing and flossing, rinsing your with an antibacterial rinse can help prevent decay and gum problems. Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal can also protect by increasing saliva flow, which naturally washes bacteria away and neutralizes acid.