How to Properly Brush & Floss Your Teeth
Brushing & Flossing Are Important Parts of Oral Hygiene
We have all inherited different genetics; some have inherited remarkably strong teeth, while others have inherited teeth with dental problems. Devoting a few minutes a day to thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth can help do away with plaque and preserve your teeth.
All of our services are performed by general dentists.
What is Plaque?
Plaque is the sticky, colourless film of bacteria which constantly forms on your teeth. If left undisturbed, plaque turns into hard deposits called tartar. Tartar is responsible for cavities and gum disease.
Best Practice for Brushing Your Teeth
Ideally, one should brush after every meal and snack. These days, this is hard to do because of our busy lifestyles. It is important that you brush at least twice a day. The most effective time to brush is before bed.
Remember to brush long enough and thoroughly enough to remove the plaque from your teeth. Don’t substitute short durations with heavy scrubbing as this may cause recession.
Brushing Techniques to Remember
- Use a toothbrush with soft rounded-tip bristles. Hard bristles may harm your teeth and gums. Your toothbrush should allow you to reach each tooth comfortably. Children will need a smaller toothbrush. A worn-out toothbrush cannot clean your teeth properly, so remember to replace your toothbrush every three to four months or if it begins to fan out.
- Gently tilt your toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle toward the gums so you can reach the food debris just under the gum line. Massage the gum line in each spot with a gentle circular motion, then sweep the bristles across the tooth surface away from the gum. Clean both the front and back gum lines this way.
- Brush down on your top teeth and up on your bottom teeth to prevent recession.
- Work the bristles of your toothbrush into the grooves of the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
- Gently brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
Best Practice for Flossing
Brushing cleans the surface of your teeth, but you need to floss to get between the teeth. It’s best to floss before you brush, removing the plaque between the teeth and allowing the foam of the fluoridated toothpaste to reach the side surfaces of the teeth to help remineralize weakened areas.
If flossing is new for you, your gums may bleed or feel tender. This is normal. As the plaque is being broken up and the bacteria removed, your gums will heal. If the bleeding doesn’t stop after the first two weeks, contact your dentist. Remember to always be gentle when inserting your floss between your teeth and under the gum line.
Flossing Techniques to Remember
- Break off about 18 inches of floss for adults. For children, the piece should be as long as their arm.
- Wrap the floss around the middle finger of each hand.
- Hold about an inch of floss tightly between your thumb and forefinger.
- Pull the floss between each tooth using a gentle “sawing” motion.
- Curve the floss tightly around your teeth at the gum line and gently scrape the sides of each tooth, moving the floss away from your gums.
- Remember to floss the back side of the molars at the back of your mouth.