Practical ways to keep your teeth clean and healthy between dental visits

You don't actually have to floss daily

Everyone knows they should be flossing at least once day, but hardly anyone does. And there is no possible way to keep your teeth as clean as they feel after a dentist visit, right? Well, you can still keep your teeth reasonably healthy and clean in the six months between appointments.

If you hate flossing, use mouthwash. Some studies have shown that flossing on your own isn't nearly as effective as when a dental hygienist does it. That's because most people aren't willing to push the floss between their teeth and their gums, which can be painful. Mouthwash gets into those hard to reach places with much less pain. But for the best results, you really want to floss and use mouthwash. You don't have to get the traditional string floss either. If you can't get the technique down, go for the disposable flossing picks. These give you more leverage to floss in those tight spaces. But still, remember to be gentle with your gums. Being too rough can cause damage.

Make sure to brush your teeth pretty soon after drinking soda or eating any sweets. If you let the sugar marinate on your teeth, you're more likely to cause cavities. But if you're out and about, there's not really a reasonable way to brush your teeth. You could invest in those portable finger brushers, but just chewing sugarless gum, like Trident or Orbit, can help until you get back home. Ideally, you want to be able to brush your teeth about an hour after drinking a soda or eating something very sweet.

You should also probably cut back on the soda in general. Two of its main ingredients are phosphoric acid and citric acid. These eat away at the enamel of your teeth and that doesn't grow back. The occasional soda is totally okay, but one or more a day can make your teeth much more susceptible to cavities.

Examine how you're brushing your teeth. You don't want to brush too forcefully. Rough brushing can erode your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush in gentle circles. Make sure to brush each tooth about 10 to 15 times. You should be brushing for about two to three minutes each time. Getting a vibrating toothbrush will help too. It will get clean your teeth without having to apply extra force. Remember to replace your toothbrush every three months.