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Home Care

Proper dental hygiene in the home

Dr. Terri wants nothing less for patients in Geneva, NY than a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. But of course, you play a vital role in ensuring that your teeth stay in great shape. Your daily, personal dental hygiene must be impeccable. It all starts with eating balanced meals, limiting your snacking and properly flossing, brushing, rinsing and using the various other dental aids designed to help control the bacteria and plaque that can lead to periodontal disease.

home-careBrushing your teeth: Do this at least twice a day (at bedtime is most important) with toothpaste and a soft-bristle brush approved by the American Dental Association.

  1. Gently scrub, using a small, circular motion. Make sure you keep the bristles at a 45-degree angle from your gums and can always feel the bristles against them.
  2. Brush each surface of every tooth — outside, inside and biting surface.
  3. Remove bacteria and freshen your breath by brushing your tongue as well as your teeth.

Many dentists recommend using an electric toothbrush to make plaque removal easier and more efficient. You can clean several teeth at a time simply by place the bristles of an electric brush against your gums and teeth, and moving it around.


The most effective way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline is by flossing daily. In addition to cleaning hard-to-reach surfaces of your teeth, flossing prevents plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the teeth, gums and bone.

  1. Take about a foot of dental floss and wrap the ends around a finger on each hand, leaving about two inches of floss free between your hands.
  2. Using your thumbs and free fingers to guide the floss, gently insert it between your teeth with a sawing motion.
  3. Pull the floss tight around each tooth and lower it under your gum line. Move the floss up and down gently, cleaning the sides of each tooth.

If conventional flossing methods are difficult for you, floss holders are a good alternative.


Be sure to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and after meals if you don’t have the ability to brush right away. If you are using an over-the-counter mouthwash, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist about whether it is a good fit for you.

Other dental aids can play a valuable role in at-home oral hygiene. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend include:

  • interdental brushes
  • fluoride
  • medicated rinses
  • tongue cleaners
  • irrigation devices
  • rubber tip stimulators

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