In accordance with the American Dental Association (ADA), individuals are advised to brush two to three times a day, with a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride is like a "vitamin" present in toothpaste to help prevent tooth decay or cavities. It is also added to the tap water we drink. The ADA also recommends application of fluoride directly to the tooth surface every 3-6 months or as recommended by your dentist.
The brushing technique involves holding the brush at a 45 degree angle so the bristles will slide along the base of the tooth. Using light pressure, vibrate the toothbrush in a circular motion several times for every two to three teeth. An alternative is the use of an electric toothbrush, the most popular being OralB or Sonicare. Be sure to clean the tongue, the chewing surfaces, and the cheek side of each tooth. Brushing the tongue will help eliminate bacteria that cause bad breath.
Flossing daily will help eliminate the food and bacterial trapped in between your teeth. If you are flossing for the first time your gums may bleed for 5-7 days. A proxabrush or "floss pick" is an effective tool used to simplify the flossing process and can be purchased at any grocery store.
Mouth rinses are used for a variety of reasons: to freshen breath, to help prevent or control tooth decay, to reduce plaque (a thin film of bacteria that forms on teeth), to prevent or reduce gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease), to reduce the speed that tartar (hardened plaque) forms on the teeth, or to produce a combination of these effects. Most mouthrinses are available without a prescription.