How to Brush and Floss Properly

How to Brush and Floss Properly The most important things you can do to make sure your teeth and gums stay healthy is to brush and floss daily. Your biannual dental checkups can ensure that you have been doing this often and correctly. Your dentist and his or her dental team will clean your teeth, scrape the plaque off places you may have missed, and help keep your oral health where it needs to be. Properly brushing and flossing helps to prevent certain problems, such as:

  • Periodontal disease – Can cause gum recession, tooth loss, and lead to other serious diseases and illnesses that will affect your overall health
  • Tooth decay – Leads to tooth loss caused by the acids in plaque that erode tooth enamel
  • Bad breath – Halitosis is caused by food particles stuck between your teeth that are easily removed through brushing and flossing
  • Staining – Teeth are stained through eating and drinking beverages (coffee, tea) with pigments in them. Smoking and chewing tobacco also badly stain teeth. Stains can become permanent if not removed through brushing and flossing

Proper Brushing Ideally, you should brush after every meal, but at least morning and night. Using a toothbrush with soft bristles and small enough to reach all areas of the mouth is important. Electric toothbrushes are better than other brushes because they are more effective. You also want a toothbrush that is less than three months old. Your proper brushing technique is:

  • Holding the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle where the tooth and gums meet
  • Apply light pressure to avoid damaging gums and enamel
  • Use small circular motions brushing the teeth and gums
  • Use back and forth motion when brushing surfaces of molars
  • Brush every surface of the tooth
  • Brush tongue to remove any remaining food and debris

Proper Flossing Flossing removes plaque and debris from between your teeth. It helps to prevent gum disease and limits depth of the gum pocket. Flossing should be performed daily. There are several kinds of floss and flavors that you can choose from. Proper flossing technique is:

  • Use a piece of floss around a foot and a half in length
  • Wrap each end around the middle fingers of your hands until they are a few inches apart
  • Work the floss gently in between the teeth
  • Create a U-shape with the floss on each individual tooth and slide beneath the gum line
  • Using a seesaw motion, move the floss up and down several times to remove plaque and debris

Brushing and flossing properly, every single day, will keep your teeth and gums healthy. See your dentist biannually to have your teeth cleaned and oral health evaluated to make sure your mouth is as healthy as it can be. For further tips or questions about brushing and flossing, speak with your dentist today.

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