Your teeth are in large part the focal point of your entire face, so keeping teeth and gums healthy deserves your attention. In that spirit, consider these suggestions:
* While brushing your teeth is essential to maintaining oral health, overbrushing can do more harm than good. Using a hard-bristle toothbrush or applying too much pressure when brushing can cause gums to become irritated and recede.
* To keep gums in tip-top shape, use a soft bristle brush and work in up-and-down strokes, focusing on one quarter of the jaw at a time.
* A late-model high-quality electric toothbrush can go a long way toward not just keeping your teeth clean and removing plaque but also massaging your gums.
* Many health-conscious people find that safely combining flossing with some other activity helps them work this important task into their busy schedules (listening to a daily newscast, for example). As a sign seen in a dentist's office reads, "You don't have to floss all your teeth - just the ones you want to keep!"
* Speaking of dentists, it's a good idea to avoid the temptation to put off regular check-ups, scheduling at least two each year. Make your appointment for the next visit each time you go in. Immediately jot it down on your calendar.