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Feb 22

How to care for your teeth in between check-ups to care for your teeth in between check-ups

Depending on the individual, most dentists will recommend professional cleanings and check-ups every six months, because as good of a job as you can do cleaning your own teeth at home, your dentist can do it better and he or she can find problems that may not be evident to you on the surface. Your dentist will look for signs of gum disease, check for lose teeth, and check your tongue and bite pressure. Using x-rays, he or she will check for damaged teeth or fillings and evaluate your teeth for decay, and recommend any further actions or procedures for improvement.

While only a dental professional can provide these services, there are actions you can take at home in between visits, to make sure that your next visit runs routinely and smoothly.

Brushing and Flossing

The most effective action you can take towards maintaining your oral health is also the simplest. No matter where you are in life right now, the act of brushing your teeth has most likely been ingrained in you from a very early age. But while everyone knows how to brush their teeth, few people know how to do brush their teeth the right way, and in terms of your long-term dental health, doing it right can make all the difference.

Five things you should know about brushing your teeth:

  1. ¬†Brush your teeth at least twice a day and after each meal if possible. However, it’s important to wait at least thirty minutes after eating, as acidic foods can soften the enamel on teeth and this protective enamel can be brushed away if not allowed time to harden.
  2. Brush your teeth for at least two to three minutes during each session, and rinse your mouth with water afterwards. Some dentists will recommend dividing your mouth into quadrants and spending certain amounts of time in each area to insure that all areas are covered with each brushing.
  3. Use a soft bristle toothbrush and use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste for each season, as too hard of a brush or too much fluoride can actually damage teeth.
  4. Spend a few seconds on your tongue each time you brush, as this will remove the bacteria known to cause bad breath. A few gentle brush strokes will do, making sure to brush from the back of the tongue forward, preventing the bacteria from simply being pushed farther back into the mouth.
  5. Replace your toothbrush or brush head every three to four months.


Five things you should know about flossing your teeth:

  1. Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  2. Use about eighteen inches of floss for each session, winding the ends around one finger on each hand for easy use and starting with the top teeth first, followed by the bottom teeth.
  3. After flossing each tooth, replace the used floss with fresh floss by continually winding the dirty floss around the finger of one hand and releasing the clean floss from the finger of the other hand.
  4. Floss between each tooth and around the backs of each tooth.
  5. Press gently when flossing so as not to injure gums or cause sensitivity.


Maintaining proper dental health takes your active involvement each and every day, though these habits should become second nature to you if they are not already. The benefits of daily oral care will be apparent not only in the way you look, but in the way you feel as well, helping you to put your best smile forward each and every day.

Please remember that brushing and flossing daily are meant to be additions to regular dental check-ups, not substitutions, and seeing your dentist twice annually is still strongly recommended. So when the time does come to head in for your check-up, visit Dr. Lefort – the premier dental specialist of Fort Myers!


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