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Sometimes it feels like the holidays are chock-full of treats and snacking. This makes it even more important to keep up on the basics of oral hygiene.

Brush:The American Dental Association advises that you brush your teeth for 2 full minutes, twice a day. Use short, tooth-wide strokes, back and forth. Use a toothbrush that has very soft bristles to avoid damaging your gum tissue and tooth enamel. Brushing your teeth is the bedrock of good oral hygiene. Make sure to not skip a single time!

Floss: Flossing is important for dental hygiene at every age. Flossing should start as soon as a child has 2 teeth that touch, and should continue daily for the rest of their life. Flossing cleans plaque and food particles away from areas of the mouth that your brush cannot reach. Floss once a day, for 2-3 minutes each time. Don’t forget to floss behind the back molars!

Mouthwash: Some people choose to add mouthwash to their daily oral hygiene routine. If you choose to include one, pick up a therapeutic mouthwash with the ADA Seal of Acceptance on the packaging. Do not give mouthwash to children under 6 years of age. If you need to avoid alcohol for any reason, read labels carefully. Many mouthwashes have high alcohol content.

If you struggle making enough time for your teeth, try setting an alarm for brushing times, and then set a timer for the full two minutes. Brush with your partner to keep each other on track. Or, make it family time! Brushing with kids can be fun, and it develops great oral hygiene habits that can last a lifetime.

For more information, call Virginia Dental Group in Fairfax, Virginia, at 703-385-3800. Dr. Lida M. Vargas and our team are happy to help keep your smile bright this season!