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General oral hygiene care consists of proper brushing and flossing daily.The purpose of oral hygiene is to minimize any etiologic agents of disease in the mouth. The primary focus of brushing and flossing is to remove and prevent the formation of plaque or dental biofilm. Plaque consists mostly of bacteria. As the amount of bacterial plaque increases, the tooth is more vulnerable to dental caries when carbohydrates in the food are left on teeth after every meal or snack. A toothbrush can be used to remove plaque on accessible surfaces, but not between teeth or inside pits and fissures on chewing surfaces. When used correctly, dental floss removes plaque from areas that could otherwise develop proximal caries but only if the depth of sulcus has not been compromised. Other adjunct oral hygiene aids include interdental brusheswater picks, and mouthwashes.

However oral hygiene is probably more effective at preventing gum disease (periodontal disease) than tooth decay. Food is forced inside pits and fissures under chewing pressure, leading to carbohydrate-fueled acid demineralisation where the brush, fluoride toothpaste, and saliva have no access to remove trapped food, neutralise acid, or remineralise demineralised tooth like on other more accessible tooth surfaces food to be trapped. Chewing fibre like celery after eating forces saliva inside trapped food to dilute any carbohydrate like sugar, neutralise acid and remineralise demineralised tooth. The teeth at highest risk for carious lesions are the permanent first and second molars due to length of time in oral cavity and presence of complex surface anatomy.

Professional hygiene care consists of regular dental examinations and professional prophylaxis (cleaning). Sometimes, complete plaque removal is difficult, and a dentist or dental hygienist may be needed.