Cleaning and Flossing
3 Jan 2007
The ADA recommends the following for good oral hygiene:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
- Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner. Decay–causing bacteria still linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Flossing removes plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.
- Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks.
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.
- Talk to your dentist about what types of oral care products will be most effective for you. The ADA Seal on a product is your assurance that it has met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness. Look for the ADA Seal on fluoride toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, interdental cleaners, oral irrigators, mouth rinses and other oral hygiene products.
- Replace your toothbrush every three or four months , or sooner if the bristles become frayed. A worn toothbrush will not do a good job of cleaning your teeth. Children’s toothbrushes often need replacing more frequently than adults because they can wear out sooner.
Flossing Recommended for Good Oral Health Care
The American Dental Association (ADA) is aware of the recent preliminary injunction against a mouthwash manufacturer's advertising claim that its mouth rinse is as effective as flossing. The ADA continues to recommend flossing as part of a good oral hygiene regimen. The following flossing information was updated and posted on the ADA's Web site in June 2004
While some study results* indicate the use of a mouth rinse can be as effective as flossing for reducing plaque between the teeth, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends to brush twice a day and clean between the teeth with floss or interdental cleaners once each day to remove plaque from all tooth surfaces. Plaque is responsible for both tooth decay and gum disease.
Regarding the studies, the authors concluded that in patients with mild to moderate gingivitis (early periodontal (gum) disease), rinsing twice a day with the antiseptic mouth rinse was as effective as flossing for reducing plaque and gingivitis between the teeth. The studies did not examine whether the mouth rinse had the same effect as floss on reducing tooth decay or periodontitis (advanced periodontal (gum) disease). Flossing and interdental cleaners also help remove food debris caught between teeth that may not be rinsed away.
The ADA recommends following the above overview information to help keep your teeth and gums in good health.