Keeping Your Teeth Clean and White

by Lecia DeBrine
(last updated June 3, 2015)

I can't help but smile when I see someone else showing their pearly whites. Maintaining a nice white color is all about keeping your teeth healthy. Having a good oral health care routine is imperative to healthy teeth. Here are some steps to follow to keep your teeth looking great:

  1. Brush. You have been told this since you were a child, but it is the most important step in oral health. Brush twice a day. You can talk to your dentist about prescription whitening toothpastes if desired or just pick one up at the drugstore. Don't forget to replace your toothbrush every three months or so. A worn out toothbrush doesn't do a good job of cleaning your teeth.
  2. Floss. Flossing once a day clears out bacteria and food particles between teeth that toothbrush bristles can't reach. With all the different kinds of floss out there how do you choose the right one? There is no "right one." Waxed, un-waxed, flavored; they all work. Find one you like and make it a part of your routine.
  3. Mouthwash or Rinses. If you want or need to use these you want to choose a rinse that will do more than leave a refreshing taste in your mouth. Antiplaque or antigingivitis rinses control bacterial plaque and reduce gingivitis and are suggested for short term use. These are only available by prescription. Anticavity fluoride rinses prevent decay and strengthen teeth. These can be found in drugstores and are a great preventative measure.
  4. Whitening. There are many whitening products available over the counter. Most of these will give you some kind of result but it may not be as white as you might like. If you are doubting your choice you can always ask your dentist what you should use. Clinical whitening is also an option but only to be done occasionally.
  5. Visit Your Dentist. Routine dentist visits are the best way to be sure you are keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Your dentist can keep an eye out for problem areas and provide you with advice on things you can do at home to make your teeth sparkle.
  6. Be careful if you choose to whiten that you don't over do it. Sustaining a beautiful smile is about taking good care of your entire mouth. And if you can't do all of them that is okay, just remember what mom said "Don't forget to brush and floss!"

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