Combined with regular visits to your dentist, your home dental care regimen is the most important aspect of protecting your teeth and gums from plaque, gum disease, and other oral health problems. Your dentist and oral hygienist will instruct you in proper brushing, flossing, and dietary habits to keep your teeth and gums healthy and disease free. There are a variety of consumer products available to assist you; however, you should consult your dentist before using any on a regular basis. Brushing your teeth and tongue at least twice a day will help prevent the buildup of plaque on the surface of your teeth and bacteria on your tongue. Flossing at least once a day after your last meal helps to prevent the buildup of plaque in between your teeth and under your gumline where your toothbrush cannot reach. Rinsing removes loose food particles. Your dentist may tell you that rinsing with water is sufficient and that purchasing a medicated rinse isn't necessary, depending upon your oral health. Watching your diet is also important as too much sugar and starch can lead to cavities. If you have a home water filter, find out whether it reduces the amount of fluoride in your water. If it does, you may want to consult with your dentist about your fluoride needs. During dental visits, ask questions of your dentist and dental hygienist, especially if you don't understand their instructions. Remember that you, your dentist, and your hygienist, work as a team to ensure your oral health.