Oral Hygiene Instruction – For thorough, but gentle cleansing, use a soft toothbrush. Holding the brush at a 45-degree angle, make circular motions down and away from the gum tissue. The most common misconception about brushing is: the harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth will be. Added to this fallacy is the use of medium-to-hard brushes. Such notion-borne actions may actually cause early recession of the gum tissue. Slow, gentle brushing for two minutes of all surfaces of the teeth and the four quadrants of your mouth is the recommended method. Flossing around and between the teeth is also crucial to maintain healthy gums. The floss should wrap around the tooth in a C-shape fashion before pulling up. This should be done on both front and back sides of the tooth. Other helpful tools, especially when large spaces are present between the teeth, are interproximal brushes, stim-u-dents, and rubber tip stimulators. Dr. Tran provides samples of these items for his patients at their regular dental cleanings. It requires a team effort between doctor, hygienist, and patient to maintain a healthy mouth and smile. To maintain optimal oral health, the American Dental Association recommends that patients have their teeth cleaned by a professional twice a year and undergo a general dental exam yearly. Patients who have periodontal disease may benefit from more frequent cleanings.