Five Spring Cleaning Tips for a Healthy Mouth

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Dental experts suggest adding healthy oral care habits to spring cleaning lists. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry recommends the most beneficial mouth and teeth cleansing activities.

A great Spring cleaning tip for oral care is to brush, floss and scrape your tongue every night to get rid of bacteria.

Annual spring cleaning rituals should also include taking inventory of teeth cleaning routines, according to experts at the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). The following are five habits dentists recommend that adults do each day to keep oral hygiene in top shape.

1. Use an Electric Toothbrush

At more than 30,000 strokes per minute compared to an average 100 strokes per minute with a manual toothbrush, electric toothbrushes work harder by pushing fluid between teeth and around the gum line, which provides a more effective cleaning.

Dr. Kellee Kattleman Stanton, a Minnesota cosmetic dentist and Sustaining Member of the AACD says, “Regardless of whether or not you have cavities, using an electric toothbrush over time prevents gum inflammation, gingivitis and periodontal disease.”

2. Floss at Night

The CDC reports that nearly 65 million Americans—one out every two adults ages 30 and older—have gum disease. Therefore, flossing once a day is crucial to avoid plaque and tartar, a hard mineral deposit that can cause gums to become swollen and inflamed, leading to gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease.

“My recommendation is to floss at night,” says Ronald M. Goodlin, DDS, president, AACD. “During sleep cycles, less saliva is produced to naturally clean teeth and gums, so oral bacteria are free to do more damage. Therefore, it’s important to brush, floss and scrape your tongue every night to get rid of bacteria and go to bed with your mouth as clean as possible.”

3. Select the Right Toothpaste

Dr. Jack Ringer, president-elect of AACD who practices cosmetic dentistry in Anaheim, Calif., cautions his patients to be skeptical of any toothpaste that promises to "whiten" teeth. The reality is that removal of surface stains by a toothpaste will make the tooth "look" lighter, but not change its inherent color. To lighten or "bleach" teeth, schedule a professional in-office whitening treatment, or use over-the-counter name brand bleaching products that work on the internal aspect of the tooth, not just the external aspect as a toothpaste does.

4. Don’t Forget Mouthwash

A refreshing and cost-effective alternative to store-bought mouthwash is creating a Homemade Anti-Cavity Mouth Rinse. The following recipe was developed for the AACD by Dr. Shawn Frawley, a cosmetic dentist with a family practice in Beverly Hills, Calif. This recipe uses Xylitol, a sugar substitute that studies show prevents tooth decay.

8 ounces water
2 teaspoons PreviDent GEL (1.1% Sodium Fluoride)
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ Tablespoons Xylitol
¼ teaspoon peppermint oil extract or favorite flavor

Blend ingredients together with an immersion blender or regular blender. Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Rinse with 2 teaspoons for approximately 1 minute, 1-2 times per day after brushing. For best results, do not eat, drink, or rinse for 30 minutes after expectorating. Do not swallow.
This recipe makes approximately a 2-week supply.

5. Eat Foods Good for Healthy Teeth

Research studies show that certain foods naturally cleanse your teeth while you eat them. The AACD developed nine nutritious recipes from breakfast to dinner using these key ingredients:

-Fruits like strawberries and pineapple are high in fiber and vitamin C. The citric acid in pineapple also provides an all-natural bacteria-fighting mouthwash.

-Veggies like kale and broccoli are high in minerals that strengthen tooth structure and prevent enamel erosion (or yellowing).

-Onions and wasabi –a type of Japanese horse radish– both contain compounds that reduce oral bacteria.

-Quinoa has minerals including Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorus to strengthen teeth.

The “Recipes for a Healthier Smile” e-booklet is free and available to download at

About the AACD
The AACD is the world’s largest non-profit member organization dedicated to advancing excellence in comprehensive oral care that combines art and science to optimally improve dental health, esthetics, and function. Comprised of more than 6,800 cosmetic dental professionals in 70 countries worldwide, the AACD fulfills its mission by offering superior educational opportunities, promoting and supporting a respected Accreditation credential, serving as a user-friendly and inviting forum for the creative exchange of knowledge and ideas, and providing accurate and useful information to the public and the profession. Visit

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Michael DiFrisco

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