In order to prevent tooth decay and other dental conditions, it is necessary to brush the teeth at least twice a day. Ideally, brushing should be done after each meal, however this is not always possible.
Brushing should last two or three minutes, using a soft toothbrush that is supposed to be replaced every few months, because the bacteria may accumulate on it or it may lose its shape.
Brushing should be done in circular motion, every tooth should be thoroughly brushed and ideally the bristles should reach between the teeth to clean any possible debris stuck in there. The toothpaste should contain fluoride, which is essential for healthy teeth. Some people concentrate just on the surface of the teeth facing outwards while they brush and they forget the side facing the tongue, which, of course, needs to be cleaned as well.
It is recommended to gently brush the tongue as well, in order to remove bacterial debris and to freshen the breath.
Flossing is an important part of dental care because it allows to clean the parts where the toothbrush cannot reach. If plaque, a bacterial layer that sticks to the teeth, is not removed, it can turn into tartar, which is not always possible to remove.
Flossing should be done gently, being careful not to injure the gums. However, some bleeding from the gums is possible while flossing, especially for people who are prone to gingivitis.
After brushing and flossing the teeth, it is recommended to rinse the mouth with an antibacterial and fluoride-based mouthwash. Those mouthwashes reduce the bacteria in the mouth, on the tongue and on the teeth and thus provide better oral hygiene. Mouthwash must not be swallowed, which is why it is not recommended for children under the age of six.
Some foods are known to cause more damage to the teeth than the others. Those foods especially include sugary and starchy products, which increase the acidity in the mouth, creating a an environment suitable for bacteria. Hard candies are considered to be the worst, because they stay in the mouth longer.
It is recommended to brush after eating candy, chocolate, cookies, cakes, pie, and other sugary foods, as well as after potato chips, breadsticks, crackers and other starchy food.