The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 47.2% of adults age 30 and older have periodontal disease. The CDC also reports that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease affecting American children. What both of these statistics have in common is plaque. Fortunately, your dentist can help you avoid oral health issues when you schedule a teeth cleaning and oral examination every 6 months. Plaque is an invisible film of bacteria that sticks to your teeth and gums. Over time, this plaque eats sugar and starch to produce acid. This acid erodes tooth enamel and attacks your gums, putting you at risk for oral health issues. Fortunately, our dentists are able to remove plaque and tartar, as well as advise you on how to maintain a healthy smile. Tips for an Oral Hygiene Routine Brush Twice a Day The American Dental Association recommends you brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride occurs naturally and has long been recognized for its oral health benefits. In fact, many municipalities have fluoridated drinking water to help reduce cavities. Make sure you brush for 2 minutes so you have enough time to clean all teeth. If you always brush your teeth with one foot out the door, you could be leaving behind plaque on back teeth that are harder to reach. It’s not uncommon for people to develop cavities in back teeth when they rush. Floss Once a Day Plaque loves to hide where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. That’s why it’s so important you floss once a day to remove plaque hiding in between teeth and along the gum line. Flossing helps prevent cavities from forming in between teeth so you can avoid an unpleasant surprise during your next teeth cleaning and oral examination with us. Use Mouth Rinse Once a Day We recommend using a fluoride mouth rinse to help strengthen tooth enamel. Using mouth rinse helps wash away any residual plaque or food particles that could be left behind after brushing and flossing. Your dentist can help you choose a brand that works for you. Schedule Teeth Cleanings We recommend you have a teeth cleaning and oral examination every 6 months to protect your oral health. During a teeth cleaning, one of our dental hygienists will be able to gently scrape away plaque and tartar. Once plaque hardens into tartar, it can only be removed by a dental professional. Left untreated, tartar buildup increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks Do your teeth ever feel fuzzy or rough? If so, you may be leaving behind dental plaque on your teeth. Plaque loves to eat sugar and uses it to produce cavity-causing acid. You may especially feel plaque on your teeth after eating sugary foods. It’s important to check labels in the store since many foods we think are “healthy” aren’t good for your teeth. For example, some flavors of yogurt can have a lot of sugar. Likewise, sports drinks often contain more sugar than the average person would think. Limiting sugary foods and drinks will make it easier for you to avoid oral health issues. Our dentists in Hudsonville MI want to help you maintain a healthy smile. We offer teeth cleanings, oral examinations, and other preventive dentistry to our patients. To schedule your next teeth cleaning with Hudsonville Dental, call (616) 209-4024.