If you're an adult with imperfect teeth, it's important to maintain good oral care to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. But if you struggle to clean your teeth properly, you could be at risk for both oral health problems. Plaque left between your teeth can damage your tooth enamel and weaken your gums. Here are some oral care tips to help you clean your less than perfect teeth.

Rinse Your Teeth and Gums With a Water Flosser

Although traditional floss cleans most of the debris from your mouth, you may struggle to clean your back teeth, especially if your teeth are placed close together. If you suffer from hand problems, such as arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, you may experience even more problems manipulating your floss in the back of your mouth or along your gumline. Tartar, or hard plaque, can build up around your gumline and cause gum disease. You can solve these issues by using an electric water flosser.

An electric water flosser relies on water to rinse your mouth clean. The device usually comes with multiple adjustable heads you can use to clean specific areas of your mouth. For example, some flossers come with pointed rubber heads. The pointed heads allow you to shoot, aim, or direct a stream of water toward the back of your mouth. You can also use the heads to clean between each tooth and along your gumline.

A water flosser isn't the only tool you can use to keep your teeth and gums clean. You can also use vegetables to clean your mouth.

Eat More Raw Vegetables

If you only eat your vegetables cooked, you may want to try them raw. Raw vegetables, such as carrots and celery, can keep your teeth clean between meals. The foods not only pull plaque from between your teeth, they also stimulate your saliva production. Saliva contains natural enzymes that fight gum disease and tooth decay.

Saliva moistens the soft and hard tissues in your mouth, which keeps the bacteria inside your mouth in check. A dry mouth allows bacteria to grow out of control. Once the germs take over your mouth, they can build up around your gums and inflame them.

Some adults experience a condition called dry mouth syndrome when they lack sufficient saliva. Dry mouth syndrome can trigger a host of issues, including canker sores and tooth decay. Canker sores are painful ulcers that show on the soft surfaces of your tongue, gums, and inner cheeks.

In addition, saliva helps control the acid content in your mouth. Your mouth can become acidic if you eat or drink sugary foods, or it can form when you have too many bacteria inside your mouth. Acid has the potential to dissolve or consume the minerals in your tooth enamel, including calcium and phosphorus. If your enamel loses too many minerals, it begins to weaken or decay.

You can keep your saliva healthy and productive by eating the right amount of vegetables per day. For instance, if you're a woman in your 50s, you should strive to eat at least 2 cups of vegetables each day. Men who are in their early 20s should strive for at least 3 cups of vegetables per day. If you live an active lifestyle, you may choose to eat more vegetables than your recommended servings.

If you don't see any changes in your oral care after trying the tips above, schedule an appointment with an orthodontist. An orthodontist, such as Donald E. Snyder Orthodontics, can examine your teeth to see if you benefit from adult braces. Straighter teeth may allow you to clean them better during your oral care.