Does teething cause a baby to vomit?

Teething is a natural process that every infant goes through. It can be an uncomfortable experience, and it can be concerning for parents and caregivers to see the infant experiencing pain and discomfort.

The symptoms of teething vary from one infant to another. Some babies do not have any symptoms at all when their teeth come in. Others may become mildly irritable, begin to drool, lose their appetite, or cry more than usual. In some cases, vomiting and fever can accompany teething.

Many people believe that vomiting while teething is normal. However, most experts now agree that teething does not cause generalized symptoms, such as vomiting, fever, rash, and diarrhea.

The caregivers of infants who experience vomiting when teething should visit a doctor or pediatrician to determine the underlying cause of this symptom.

What is teething?

Teething and vomiting

Teething typically takes place between the ages of 6 and 12 months.

Teething occurs when an infant’s teeth first begin to break through the gums. This typically takes place between the ages of 6 and 12 months.

The two front teeth on the lower jaw usually appear first, with the other front teeth following. Molars are next to break through in most cases, with the canines arriving last.

By the age of 3 years, children usually have their full set of 20 baby teeth.

As it takes place over such a broad timespan, parents and caregivers often attribute many symptoms to teething. However, it is more likely that another condition, such as an infection, is causing these additional symptoms.

It can be helpful to understand which symptoms are normal and which are not when it comes to teething.

Typical symptoms of teething include:

  • chewing on objects
  • crying more than usual
  • mild difficulty sleeping
  • drooling more than usual
  • fussiness
  • loss of appetite
  • red, sore, tender, or swollen gums
  • a slight rise in body temperature (not over 101°F)

Research suggests that the symptoms of teething peak as the front teeth appear, which tends to occur between 6 and 16 months of age. As children get older, they are likely to experience fewer and milder symptoms when new teeth come through.

Teething does not typically cause the following symptoms:

  • congestion
  • a cough
  • diarrhea
  • high fever
  • increased number of stools
  • rash
  • refusal of liquids
  • vomiting

Why is the roof of my mouth swollen?

The roof of the mouth consists of a bony plate at the front and a non-bone, soft section at the back. Together, these serve as a barrier between the oral and nasal cavities. From time to time, the roof of the mouth may become swollen.

Swelling on the roof of the mouth may be due to several potential causes, most of which will resolve with minimal treatment. In less common cases, the swelling may be due to a more serious condition.

Other symptoms may accompany the swelling, including:

  • blisters or other sores
  • dry mouth
  • muscle spasms
  • pain or discomfort

Read on to learn about the possible causes of swelling on the roof of the mouth.

Causes

A range of conditions can cause a swollen roof of the mouth, including:

1. Sores in the mouth

Woman with hands over mouth due to roof of mouth swollen

Sores, injury, and squamous papillomas can cause a swollen roof of the mouth.

Most common mouth sores, such as canker sores and cold sores, will appear on the gums, cheeks, or lips. In some cases, they may appear on the roof of the mouth.

Sores can cause pain, blisters, and swelling. Some people may notice pain or swelling before the sore appears.

2. Injury or trauma

One of the most common causes of swelling on the roof of the mouth is an injury or trauma. Some of the most common causes of trauma include:

  • eating a hard food that may impact the roof of the mouth
  • eating or drinking an extremely hot item
  • a scratch from a sharp piece of food

3. Dehydration

Dehydration can cause swelling on the roof of the mouth. Dehydration can cause a dry mouth, which can result in swelling if a person does not take steps to relieve the condition.

Some common causes of dehydration and dry mouth include:

  • excessive alcohol intake
  • certain medications
  • not drinking enough water
  • excessive sweating, particularly on hot days or while exercising
  • illness

A person with dehydration that causes an electrolyte imbalance may also feel especially weak or experience muscle spasms.

Causes and treatment of gingivitis

Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums, or gingiva. It commonly occurs because a film of plaque, or bacteria, accumulates on the teeth.

Gingivitis is a non-destructive type of periodontal disease, but untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. This is more serious and can eventually lead to loss of teeth.

Dentist working on a patient

Gingivitis is a common type of periodontal disease.

Signs of gingivitis include red and puffy gums, that bleed easily when the person brushes their teeth.

Gingivitis often resolves with good oral hygiene, such as longer and more frequent brushing, and flossing. In addition, an antiseptic mouthwash may help.

In mild cases of gingivitis, patients may not even know they have it, because symptoms are mild. However, the condition should be taken seriously and addressed immediately.

Types

There are two main categories of gingival diseases:

Dental plaque-induced gingival disease: This can be caused by plaque, systemic factors, medications, or malnutrition.

Non-plaque induced gingival lesions: This can be caused by a specific bacterium, virus, or fungus. It might also be caused by genetic factors, systemic conditions (including allergic reactions and certain illnesses), wounds, or reactions to foreign bodies, such as dentures. Sometimes, there is no specific cause.

Causes

The most common cause of gingivitis is the accumulation of bacterial plaque between and around the teeth. The plaque triggers an immune response, which, in turn, can eventually lead to the destruction of gingival, or gum, tissue. It may also, eventually, lead to further complications, including the loss of teeth.

Dental plaque is a biofilm that accumulates naturally on the teeth. It is usually formed by colonizing bacteria that are trying to stick to the smooth surface of a tooth.

These bacteria might help protect the mouth from the colonization of harmful microorganisms, but dental plaque can also cause tooth decay, and periodontal problems such as gingivitis and chronic periodontitis, a gum infection.

When plaque is not removed adequately, it can harden into calculus, or tartar, at the base of the teeth, near the gums. This has a yellow color. Calculus can only be removed professionally.

Plaque and tartar eventually irritate the gums, causing gum inflammation around the base of the teeth. This means that the gums might easily bleed.

Other causes and risk factors

Changes in hormones: This may occur during pubertymenopause, the menstrual cycle, and pregnancy. The gingiva might become more sensitive, raising the risk of inflammation.

Some diseases: Cancer, diabetes, and HIV are linked to a higher risk of gingivitis.

Drugs: Oral health may be affected by some medications, especially if saliva flow is reduced. Dilantin, an anticonvulsant, and some anti-angina medications can cause abnormal growth of gum tissue.

Smoking: Regular smokers more commonly develop gingivitis, compared with non-smokers.

Age: The risk of gingivitis increases with age.

Poor diet: A vitamin-C deficiency, for example, is linked to gum disease.

Family history: Those whose parent or parents have had gingivitis have a higher risk of developing it too. This is thought to be due to the type of bacteria we acquire during our early life.

Beyond tooth decay: why good dental hygiene is important

Most of us are aware that poor dental hygiene can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath – but not brushing your teeth could also have consequences for more serious illnesses.

In this spotlight feature, to coincide with National Dental Hygiene Month, we peer beneath the plaque to investigate what other – perhaps unexpected – health conditions are affected by poor dental health.

Alzheimer’s disease

In 2010, researchers from New York University (NYU) concluded that there is a link between gum inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease, after reviewing 20 years of data on the association.

toothbrush with toothpaste

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association recommend that we should brush for 2 minutes, twice daily.

However, the number of participants in the NYU study was fairly small. The researchers analyzed data from 152 subjects enrolled in the Glostrop Aging Study – a study looking at psychological, medical and oral health in Danish men and women. The study spanned a 20-year period and ended in 1984, when the subjects were all over the age of 70.

Comparing cognitive function at ages 50 and 70, the NYU team found that gum disease at the age of 70 was strongly associated with low scores for cognitive function.

Study participants were nine times more likely to have a score in the lower range of the cognitive test – the “digit symbol test” (DST) – if they had inflammation of the gums.

Although this study took into account potentially confounding factors like obesity, cigarette smoking and tooth loss unrelated to gum inflammation, there was still a strong association between low DST score and gum inflammation.

In 2013, UK-based researchers from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) built on the findings of this study, by comparing brain samples from 10 living patients with Alzheimer’s with 10 brain samples from people who did not have the disease.

Analysis showed that a bacterium – Porphyromonas gingivalis – was present in the Alzheimer’s brain samples but not in the samples from the brains of people who did not have Alzheimer’s. What was interesting was that P. gingivalis is usually associated with chronic gum disease.

The team followed up this research in 2014 with a new mouse study, the results of which were published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s DiseaseMedical News Today spoke to co-author Dr. Sim K. Singhrao regarding the findings.

Dr. Singhrao says that there is sufficient scientific evidence to show that two of the three gum disease-causing bacteria are capable of motion (or “motile”) and have been consistently found in brain tissue.

“These motile bacteria can leave the mouth and enter the brain via two main routes,” he explains. “They can use their movement capability to directly enter the brain. One of the paths taken is to crawl up the nerves that connect the brain and the roots of teeth. The other path is indirect entry into the brain via the blood circulation system.”

In a patient who has bleeding gums, says Dr. Singharo, the gum disease-causing bacteria will enter the blood stream every time they clean their mouth and even when they eat food.

He continues:

P. gingivalis is particularly interesting as it has found ways to hitch a lift from red blood cells when in the blood stream and instead of getting ‘off the red blood cell bus’ in the spleen, they choose to get off in the brain at an area where there are no immune checkpoints. From there, they spread to the brain at their will. In addition, in older individuals, the blood vessels tend to enlarge and become leaky.”

“The published work confirmed P. gingivalis placed in the mouths of mice finds its way to the brain once gum disease becomes established first,” Dr. Singhrao concludes. “Furthermore, our hypothesis is strengthened by the recent results demonstrating that the chemicals released by the brain’s immune system in response to P. gingivalis reaching the brain ‘inadvertently’ damage functional neurons in the area of the brain related to memory.”

Dentist Should Advise Vegetarians on Good Oral Health

Health concerns about fat and cholesterol have prompted many people to become vegetarians, and the nutritional deficiencies that can sometimes result may reveal themselves during dental exams.

Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson Ludwig Leibsohn, DDS says he usually asks patients if they adhere to vegetarian or other special diets.

“Most adult vegetarians are very knowledgeable about nutrition,” says Dr. Leibsohn. “They maintain their diets in a proper fashion.”

Children, however, need a well-balanced and nutritionally complete diet for proper growth, and the potential for deficiencies is greatest among children and teenagers who put themselves on vegetarian diets without knowing enough about their nutritional needs.

Although vegetarian diets vary, some vegetarians, particularly those who do not consume any food of animal origin, can experience deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12 or complete proteins. Studies show that by eating the right amount of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, they can get the nutrients they need.

“An adult on a vegetarian diet for a prolonged period can be at increased risk for periodontal (gum) disease from a lack of vitamin D and calcium,” says Dr. Leibsohn.

Dr. Leibsohn recommends that anyone considering adopting a vegetarian diet seek counseling from their dentist or a nutritionist to learn about substituting foods to get all the necessary nutrients. He also suggests taking a multiple vitamin daily.

Teeth may soften when there is a shortage of vitamin D, becoming more susceptible to decay and periodontal disease. Vitamin D is produced in the body with sun exposure, so deficiencies are rare, but it can develop in those who do not consume milk or fish. Adding vegetable margarines or soy milk to the diet may solve the problem.

Taking Care of Your Teeth and Mouth

Healthy teeth and gums make it easy for you to eat well and enjoy good food. Several problems can affect the health of your mouth, but good care should keep your teeth and gums strong as you age.

Tooth DecayToothbrushes and toothpaste for healthy teeth and gums

Teeth are covered in a hard, outer coating called enamel. Every day, a thin film of bacteria called dental plaque builds up on your teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that can harm enamel and cause cavities. Brushing and flossing your teeth can prevent decay, but once a cavity forms, a dentist has to fix it.

Use fluoride toothpaste to protect your teeth from decay. If you are at a higher risk for tooth decay (for example, if you have a dry mouth because of a condition you have or medicines you take), you might need more fluoride. Your dentist or dental hygienist may give you a fluoride treatment during an office visit or may tell you to use a fluoride gel or mouth rinse at home.

Gum Disease

Gum disease begins when plaque builds up along and under your gum line. This plaque causes infections that hurt the gum and bone that hold your teeth in place. Gum disease may make your gums tender and more likely to bleed. This problem, called gingivitis, can often be fixed by brushing and flossing every day.

A more severe form of gum disease, called periodontitis, must be treated by a dentist. If not treated, this infection can ruin the bones, gums, and other tissues that support your teeth. Over time, your teeth may have to be removed.

To prevent gum disease:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss once a day.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for a checkup and cleaning.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk for gum disease.

How to Clean Your Teeth and Gums

There is a right way to brush and floss your teeth. Every day:

  • Gently brush your teeth on all sides with a soft-bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use small circular motions and short back-and-forth strokes.
  • Brush carefully and gently along your gum line.
  • Lightly brush your tongue to help keep your mouth clean.
  • Clean around your teeth with dental floss. Careful flossing removes plaque and leftover food that a toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Rinse after you floss.

People with arthritis or other conditions that limit hand motion may find it hard to hold and use a toothbrush. Some helpful tips are:

  • Use an electric or battery-operated toothbrush.
  • Slide a bicycle grip or foam tube over the handle of the toothbrush.
  • Buy a toothbrush with a larger handle.
  • Attach the toothbrush handle to your hand with a wide elastic band.

See your dentist if brushing or flossing causes your gums to bleed or hurts your mouth. If you have trouble flossing, a floss holder may help. Ask your dentist to show you the right way to floss.

How to Floss

ends of floss wrapped around index fingers on each hand

flossing between upper teeth

flossing between lower teeth

Hold floss as shown.

Use floss between upper teeth.

Use floss between lower teeth.

Dentures

Sometimes, false teeth (dentures) are needed to replace badly damaged teeth. Partial dentures may be used to fill in one or more missing teeth. Dentures may feel strange at first. In the beginning, your dentist may want to see you often to make sure the dentures fit. Over time, your gums will change shape, and your dentures may need to be adjusted or replaced. Be sure to let your dentist handle these adjustments.

Be careful when wearing dentures, because it may be harder for you to feel hot foods and drinks or notice bones in your food. When learning to eat with dentures, it may be easier if you:

  • Start with soft, non-sticky food.
  • Cut your food into small pieces.
  • Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth.

Keep your dentures clean and free from food that can cause stains, bad breath, or swollen gums. Brush them every day with a denture-care product. Take your dentures out of your mouth at night, and soak them in water or a denture-cleansing liquid.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth happens when you don’t have enough saliva, or spit, to keep your mouth wet. It can make it hard to eat, swallow, taste, and even speak. Dry mouth can accelerate tooth decay and other infections of the mouth. Many common medicines can cause this problem.

There are things you can do that may help. Try sipping water or sugarless drinks. Don’t smoke, and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Sugarless hard candy or sugarless gum that is a little tart may help. Your dentist or doctor might suggest using artificial saliva to keep your mouth wet.

Oral Cancer

Cancer of the mouth can grow in any part of the mouth or throat. It is more likely to happen in people over age 40. A dental checkup is a good time for your dentist to look for signs of oral cancer. Pain is not usually an early symptom of the disease. Treatment works best before the disease spreads. Even if you have lost all your natural teeth, you should still see your dentist for regular oral cancer exams.

You can lower your risk of getting oral cancer in a few ways:

  • Do not use tobacco products, such as cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipes, or cigars.
  • If you drink alcohol, do so only in moderation.
  • Use lip balm with sunscreen.

Take Care of Your Teeth and Gums

The Basics: Overview

Healthy habits, including brushing and flossing, can prevent tooth decay (cavities) and gum disease. Tooth decay and gum disease can lead to pain and tooth loss.

You can prevent most problems with teeth and gums by taking these steps:

  • Brush your teeth 2 times a day with fluoride (“FLOOR-ide”) toothpaste.
  • Floss between your teeth every day.
  • Visit a dentist regularly for a checkup and cleaning.
  • Cut down on sugary foods and drinks.
  • Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.

What causes tooth decay and gum disease?

Plaque (“plak”) is a sticky substance that forms on your teeth. When plaque stays on your teeth too long, it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing and flossing help get plaque off your teeth so your mouth can stay healthy.

Mouth and Teeth: How to Keep Them Healthy

Taking good care of your mouth and teeth throughout your whole life can help prevent problems as you get older. Taking care of your teeth means brushing and flossing every day and seeing the dentist regularly.

Path to improved health

A healthy mouth is more important than you might think. Consider everything you expect your mouth to do each day. You use your mouth to eat, to smile, to speak, and more. Poor oral health can affect any or all of these things.

Good oral health isn’t hard to achieve but it does take discipline. Use these tips for a lifetime of taking care of your mouth and teeth.

Infants and children

The first set of teeth is already almost completely formed at birth. At first, these teeth are “hiding” under the gums. These teeth are important, because after they come in, they let your baby chew food and talk well. You baby’s first set of teeth also holds the space where permanent teeth will eventually be. They help permanent teeth grow in straight.

You can care for your child’s teeth by following these suggestions:

  • Clean your baby’s new teeth every day. When the teeth first come in, clean them by rubbing them gently with a clean wet washcloth. When the teeth are bigger, use a child’s toothbrush.
  • Children under 2 years of age shouldn’t use toothpaste. Instead, use water to brush your child’s teeth.
  • Don’t let your baby go to sleep with a bottle. This can leave milk or juice sitting on the teeth and cause cavities that are known as “baby-bottle tooth decay.”
  • Encourage older children to eat low-sugar snacks, such as fruits, cheese, and vegetables. Avoid giving your child sticky, chewy candy.
  • Teach your children how to brush their teeth properly and the importance of keeping their teeth clean.
  • Take your children to the dentist regularly. The American Dental Association recommends that children see their dentist starting at 1 year of age.

Teens

Taking good care of your mouth and teeth will help you have pleasant breath, a nice smile, and fewer cavities. Here are some simple things you can do:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • Don’t smoke or chew tobacco, which can stain your teeth, give you bad breath, and cause cancer.
  • Wear the right protective headgear while playing contact sports.
  • See your dentist every 6 months for regular check-ups and cleanings.

Adults

Continuing good mouth and tooth care as an adult can help you avoid tooth loss, painful gums, or other problems. If you have any problems with your teeth or concerns about your mouth, see your doctor or dentist right away.

Here are some helpful things you can do:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
  • Ask your doctor if your medicines have side effects that might damage your teeth. (For example, some medicines may cause you to have a dry mouth.)
  • Look inside your mouth regularly for sores that don’t heal, irritated gums, or other changes.
  • See your dentist every 6 months for regular check-ups and cleanings. 

Things to consider

When you do not regularly take good care of you teeth and mouth, you could experience these problems:

Cavities. Cavities are caused by tooth decay. Your teeth can decay when you do not brush and floss them regularly to get leftover food off of them. If left untreated, cavities can tooth pain, can cause your tooth to become infected, and can even lead to tooth loss.

Gum disease. Plaque on your teeth can lead to gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the tissue that supports your teeth. It can cause teeth to become loose over time. There is also evidence that gum disease is related to heart disease. Experts aren’t sure if gum disease makes you more likely to have heart disease or vice versa.

Oral cancer. Smoking, chewing tobacco, and alcohol can increase your risk for oral cancer (cancer in your mouth). Poor oral hygiene alone may not increase your risk for oral cancer. When you combine it with any other risk factor, though, it dramatically boosts your chances of getting cancer.

Poor self-esteem. When your teeth aren’t clean, you have bad breath. Bad breath can make you feel uncomfortable at work, school, and in social situations. This can make you reluctant to participate. Longtime poor oral health can result in tooth loss, which can make you smile less. All of these things can damage your self-esteem, or how you see yourself.

When to see a doctor

If you have mouth or tooth pain, do not ignore it. See a doctor or a dentist. The longer you wait, the worse it could be for your mouth. You should also see your dentist twice a year to get your teeth cleaned. If your dentist diagnoses you with gum disease, share this diagnosis with your medical doctor.

Questions for your doctor

  • Can my diet affect my oral health?
  • Is one toothpaste better than another?
  • Am I brushing my teeth the right way?
  • Are amalgam fillings safe?
  • Is it safe to have a root canal?
  • Should I get denture or a dental implant?

How Does What I Eat Affect My Oral Health?

You may be able to prevent two of the most common diseases of modern civilization, tooth decay (caries) and periodontal (gum) disease, simply by improving your diet. Decay results when the teeth and other hard tissues of the mouth are destroyed by acid products from oral bacteria. Certain foods and food combinations are linked to higher levels of cavity-causing bacteria. Although poor nutrition does not directly cause periodontal disease, many researchers believe that the disease progresses faster and is more severe in patients whose diet does not supply the necessary nutrients.

 

Poor nutrition affects the entire immune system, thereby increasing susceptibility to many disorders. People with lowered immune systems have been shown to be at higher risk for periodontal disease. Additionally, research shows a link between oral health and systemic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So eating a variety of foods as part of a well-balanced diet may not only improve your dental health, but increasing fiber and vitamin intake may also reduce the risk of other diseases.

How can I plan my meals and snacks to promote better oral health?

Eat a well-balanced diet characterized by moderation and variety. Develop eating habits that follow the recommendations from reputable health organizations such as the American Dietetic Association and the National Institutes of Health. Choose foods from the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products and meat, chicken, fish or beans. Avoid fad diets that limit or eliminate entire food groups, which usually result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

Always keep your mouth moist by drinking lots of water. Saliva protects both hard and soft oral tissues. If you have a dry mouth, supplement your diet with sugarless candy or gum to stimulate saliva.

Foods that cling to your teeth promote tooth decay. So when you snack, avoid soft, sweet, sticky foods such as cakes, candy and dried fruits. Instead, choose dentally healthy foods such as nuts, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese and sugarless gum or candy.

When you eat fermentable carbohydrates, such as crackers, cookies and chips, eat them as part of your meal, instead of by themselves. Combinations of foods neutralize acids in the mouth and inhibit tooth decay. For example, enjoy cheese with your crackers. Your snack will be just as satisfying and better for your dental health. One caution: malnutrition (bad nutrition) can result from too much nourishment as easily as too little. Each time you eat, you create an environment for oral bacteria to develop. Additionally, studies are showing that dental disease is just as related to overeating as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and hypertension. So making a habit of eating too much of just about anything, too frequently, should be avoided.

When should I consult my dentist about my nutritional status?

Always ask your dentist if you’re not sure how your nutrition (diet) may affect your oral health. Conditions such as tooth loss, pain or joint dysfunction can impair chewing and are often found in elderly people, those on restrictive diets and those who are undergoing medical treatment. People experiencing these problems may be too isolated or weakened to eat nutritionally balanced meals at a time when it is particularly critical. Talk to your dental health professional about what you can do for yourself or someone you know in these circumstances.

Daily Tips for Good Oral Hygiene

Bacteria can live in your mouth in the form of plaque, causing cavities and gingivitis, which can lead to periodontal (gum) disease. In order to keep your mouth clean, you must practice good  oral hygiene every day.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a sticky layer of material containing bacteria that accumulates on teeth, including where toothbrushes can’t reach. Many of the foods you eat cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids. Sugary foods are obvious sources of plaque, but there are others that you might not realize can cause harm. Starches—such as bread, crackers, and cereal—also cause acids to form. Plaque also produces substances that irritate the gums, making them red, sensitive, and susceptible to bleeding. This can lead to gum disease, in which gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that fill with bacteria and pus. If the gums are not treated, the bone around the teeth can be destroyed and teeth may become loose or have to be removed.

How can I get rid of plaque?

The best way to remove plaque is by brushing and cleaning between your teeth every day.  Brushing removes plaque from the tooth surfaces. Brush your teeth twice per day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your toothbrush should fit your mouth and allow you to reach all areas easily. Use an antimicrobial toothpaste containing fluoride, which helps protect your teeth from decay. Clean between the teeth once a day with floss or interdental cleaners to remove plaque from between the teeth, where the toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing is essential to prevent gum disease.

How do I brush and floss my teeth?

The American Dental Association recommends the following techniques for brushing and flossing your teeth:

 

Brushing

  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums.
  • Move the brush back and forth gently in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
  • Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  • Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke.
  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

 

Flossing

  • Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle fingers of each hand. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
  • Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion.
  • When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
  • Bring the floss back toward the contact point between the teeth and move the floss up or down the other side, conforming the floss to the shape of the tooth.
  • Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up-and-down motions.
  • Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.

Is there anything else I can use to clean my mouth?

A mouth rinse, in addition to daily brushing and flossing, can increase the cleanliness of your mouth. Antimicrobial mouth rinses reduce bacteria and plaque activity, which cause gingivitis and gum disease. Fluoride mouth rinses also help reduce and prevent tooth decay. Always talk to your dentist about any new products you are interested in trying. Not everyone should use a fluoride mouth rinse. For instance, fluoride rinses are not recommended for children ages 6 or younger because they may swallow them. Always check the manufacturer’s label for precautions and age recommendations  and talk with your dentist about the use of fluoride mouth rinse.