Your dentist or hygienist should show you the correct way to brush and floss. General steps for preventing and removing tartar or plaque on your teeth include:
Brush at least twice a day with a brush that is not too large for your mouth. Choose a brush that has soft, rounded bristles. The brush should let you reach every surface in your mouth easily, and the toothpaste should not be abrasive.
Electric toothbrushes have been shown to clean teeth better than manual ones.
Floss gently at least once a day. This is important to prevent gum disease.
See your dentist or oral hygienist at least every 6 months for a thorough teeth cleaning and oral exam. Some people that have periodontal disease may require more frequent cleanings.
Well-balanced meals are also recommended for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
Jones R, Baustian GH, Pearson RL, et al. Gingivitis. First Consult. Elsevier. March 23, 2011.
Ilona Fotek, DMD, MS, Palm Beach Prosthodontics Dental Associates, West Palm Beach, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.