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Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2011 9:01 am

Few people enjoy a trip to the dentist's office. For many, the fear of the dentist's office stems from what they might find out while in the chair. All of a sudden they start thinking about all of the candy, soda, and sweets that they have consumed since their last dental checkup! But, there are easy ways to help ensure that your next trip to the dentist is a convenient and comfortable experience.

  • Give your mouth the time it deserves. Spending a little more time on your oral health when you are out of the dentist chair is an easy way to help keep your smile in shape for your next visit. Many dentists recommend spending at least two minutes brushing, which should include 30 seconds brushing each section of your mouth (upper right, upper left, lower right and lower left), both morning and night.

Want to improve that bad breath? Don't forget to brush your tongue, which can help remove odor-causing bacteria, a primary culprit when it comes to bad breath.

  • Don't forget to floss. It might sound simple, but flossing is an often overlooked part of daily dental care. Amy Hazlewood, a practicing dental hygienist from South Bend, Indiana with more than 25 years of experience, stresses the importance of flossing every day, making it part of a daily dental care routine that includes brushing and rinsing.

"Brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and rinsing once a day will help remove plaque and bacteria, which in turn will help keep your gums and teeth healthy," says Hazlewood.

Hazlewood tells her patients to keep floss on the bathroom counter, not hidden in a medicine cabinet. When it is in plain sight, it will help remind you to use it more. She also recommends choosing floss that you actually like using, so it becomes less of a hassle and eventually a natural part of your routine.

The Oral-B(R) Glide brand is the #1 dentist-recommended floss. With its ultra-thin, silky smooth and shred resistant fiber, Oral-B(R) Glide is specially designed to slide easier in tight spaces compared to the leading floss, helping to remove plaque that may lead to gingivitis or more serious forms of gum disease. Depending on their oral health needs, flossers can choose from multiple varieties of Glide, including:

  • Glide Pro-Health Clinical Protection Floss -- protects against gingivitis, cavities, and bad breath as part of a complete dental program.
  • Glide Pro-Health For Sensitive Gums Floss -- includes an extra soft fiber that gently massages gums.
  • Glide Pro-Health Deep Clean Floss -- formulated with special cooling sensates that add a blast of minty freshness between teeth that continues even after flossing to help signal a clean feeling.
  • Make oral health a family priority. Practicing a healthy daily oral health routine is not only good for Mom and Dad, but it sets a good example for the kids as well. Make brushing, flossing and rinsing a family activity. You can even make it fun by making up a song or singing a family favorite with your child as they brush and floss.
  • Visit your dentist. Avoiding the dentist entirely is not in anyone's best interest. Eventually it will be time for your next dental checkup, and the longer it's been since your previous appointment the less confident you will be when you sit in the dentist chair. Hazlewood suggests visiting every six months and sticking to your routine between visits.

"The dentist can offer advice specific to your mouth and provide tips and tools for your oral care," says Hazlewood. "In between visits, stick to a regular oral care routine and avoid sticky, sugary sweets and carbohydrates as they can contribute to plaque and bacteria that can lead to early gum disease."

Regular dental visits can help catch any potential problems early, long before they become more of a challenge to treat.

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