Whether your next professional dental cleaning is 6 hours from now or 6 months from now, it’s important to follow the American Dental Association’s (ADA’s) recommendations for maintaining proper oral health care at home.



  • Spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth and tongue two times a day.

    • We recommend using a Sonicare toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of ADA-approved toothpaste. Let your toothbrush air dry following use.


  • Use floss at least once a day every day to clean between your teeth.

    • Generally, a floss string length of 18-24 inches is sufficient.

  • Be sure to floss up and down from the tooth tip to the gumline.


Rinse / Mouthwash

  • Rinse with mouthwash to freshen breath, to help prevent or control tooth decay, to reduce plaque (a thin film of bacteria that forms on teeth), to prevent or reduce gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease), to reduce the speed that tartar (hardened plaque) forms on the teeth, or to produce a combination of these effects.

    • We recommend using Listerine or any other ADA-approved rinse.

    • Children under age 6 should not use fluoride mouthwash.

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DID YOU KNOW? The sequence in which you brush, floss, and rinse makes no difference as long as you do a thorough job and use quality products. Check each product’s label for recommendations on how and when to use it, and look for products that have the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance.

Other Helpful Tips For Maintaining Optimal Oral Health At Home

Stay away from sugary drinks, including diet soda and sports drinks. If you find yourself indulging in these refreshments, rinse immediately with water after consuming. Washing away the liquids will minimize their negative effects.

Chew sugar-free gum. Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay.

Don’t let your toddler go to bed with a bottle. Tooth decay can occur when the baby is put to bed with a bottle or when a bottle is used to pacify for a fussy baby.

For more on brushing, flossing, rinsing, and oral health in general, visit the ADA website.