How to Keep Wisdom Teeth

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Wisdom tooth extraction is usually performed in a dentist's office.
Wisdom tooth extraction is usually performed in a dentist's office. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Wisdom teeth are also known as the third molars and are the last adult teeth to erupt from the gums. Removal of wisdom teeth, whether through surgery or extraction, is quite common. Because the wisdom teeth can be difficult to brush and floss adequately, they may be more likely to decay than the teeth that are easier to reach. Proper oral hygiene is essential for keeping all your teeth, but is especially important if you wish to avoid wisdom tooth extraction.

Things You'll Need

  • Toothbrush with tongue cleaner
  • Dental floss
  • Antiseptic mouthwash

Brush your teeth at least three times a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft manual or electric toothbrush. Move your toothbrush in a circular motion for at least two minutes.

Position your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth to allow the bristles of your toothbrush to penetrate the cuff of your gums. Pay special attention to the gumline around your wisdom teeth.

Floss all your teeth every day, paying special attention to the space between your second molars and your wisdom teeth. Use 18 inches of floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, using your index fingers and thumbs to control the floss. Unwind the floss from one middle finger and wind it around the other with each tooth. This will ensure that you do not transfer debris from one tooth to the next.

Clean your tongue, which can transmit bacteria to your wisdom teeth. You can use a toothbrush with a tongue cleaner, which looks like ridges on the opposite side of the bristles, or a tool made specifically for cleaning the tongue. Scrape your tongue gently with the tongue cleaner from back to front, making sure to cover the entire surface.

Rinse with antiseptic mouthwash at least once a day. Gargle the mouthwash for 30 seconds and swish it between your teeth with your mouth closed before spitting it out.

Visit your dentist every six months for a thorough tooth and gum cleaning.

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