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Best Practices: Taking Care Of Your Teeth At Home 

Article by Dr. Shohreh Sharif, D.D.S., FAAPD, FICD

Originally published in Leesburg Lifestyle

Achieving your healthiest smile can take a lot of work, but it’s so worth it! Good oral health looks beautiful and makes you feel great. Homecare is a vital part of outstanding oral health. Taking the proper steps and using the right products every day ensures the greatest chance of success. This requires developing a routine that is personalized for you or your child. 

  • Brush Twice a Day at a Minimum – Often times we forget or feel lazy and don’t want to brush at night. This is arguably the most important time to brush in order to remove all the bacteria that accumulates throughout the day
  • Brushing Technique – Believe it or not, there is a proper technique to make sure you get all the hard-to-reach areas around your teeth and gums. Improper and overly vigorous brushing can often times damage our delicate gums leading to serious pain.
  • Electric Toothbrush – Studies have shown that electric toothbrushes can help improve cleaning ability. 
  • Fluoride – Using a fluoridated toothpaste ensures your teeth are given the best chance to fight decay. Fluoride helps tore-mineralize the strongest outer layer of your teeth. 
  • Flossing – Don’t ignore this crucial key to your homecare routine. Although we may associate flossing with removing food that gets stuck between our teeth, it is actually important for the stimulation of our gums and aids in the reduction of inflammation. 
  • Mouthwash – Although not necessary, it is beneficial. Mouthwash can help by rinsing and cleansing the areas brushing and flossing cannot reach. Some mouthwashes also contain fluoride, which we know can help re-mineralize teeth. When selecting a mouthwash, choose one without alcohol in order to reduce irritation.
  • Reduce Sugary and Acidic foods – In short, bacteria produce acid which causes cavities. The food that bacteria need to produce this acid is carbohydrates, or sugars. By limiting our intake of sugary foods, we do not feed the bacteria what they need to cause cavities. 
  •  Drink Water – Proper hydration is the best thing for your overall health! Drinking water has similar benefits as mouthwash in that it can help clean some of the harder to reach areas. 
  • See Your Dentist Regularly – Homecare is one of the most important parts of maintaining good oral health. Seeing your dentist for your bi-annual checkup ensures that a professional is checking your progress and offering the best advice possible. Deeper cleanings and exams at the dentist also help remove hardened plaque, detect cavities, and monitor any teeth or areas that need special attention. 

The recommendations made in this article work for a majority of people. Remember, no two individuals are the same. Good oral health helps contribute to overall health. You should consult with your dentist to create an individualized plan. For those who are at higher risk for cavities; prescription fluoridated toothpastes and mouthwashes may be recommended. 

Dr. Shohreh Sharif has been practicing dentistry for 25 years. She is: Associate Professor, Howard University College of Dentistry Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry Diplomate, American Orthodontic Society IAD Top Pediatric Dentist among Leading Physicians of the World Fellow, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry


American Dental Association (ADA)

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) 

International Journal of Implant Dentistry (Toru Maeda et al., 2019)

  • Dr. Shohreh Sharif, D.D.S., FAAPD, FICD

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