How to Properly Brush & Floss at Home

How to Properly Brush & Floss at Home 

A beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients.  Though bi-annual professional dental cleanings are important to remove plaque, tartar, and debris, your personal home care plays an vital role in achieving that goal.  Your personal home care starts by eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks you eat, and correctly brushing and flossing to enhance the health of the mouth, make your smile sparkle, and prevent serious diseases.

Appointment  Contact Us

Reasons why proper brushing and flossing are essential:

  • Prevention of tooth decay – Tooth decay is one of the leading causes of tooth loss, and its treatment often requires complex dental procedures.  Tooth decay occurs when the acids found in plaque erode the natural enamel found on the teeth.  This phenomenon can easily be prevented by using proper home hygiene methods.
  • Prevention of periodontal disease – Periodontal (Gum) disease is a serious, progressive condition which can cause tooth loss, gum recession, and jawbone recession. Periodontal disease is caused by the toxins found in plaque and can lead to serious health problems in other parts of the body. Removing plaque and calculus (tartar) from the surface of the tooth using a toothbrush and from the interdental areas using dental floss, is an excellent way to stave off periodontal problems. 
  • Prevention of halitosis – Bad breath or halitosis is usually caused by old food particles on or between the teeth.  These food particles can be removed with regular brushing and flossing, leaving the mouth healthier, and breath smelling fresher.
  • Prevention of staining – Staining, or yellowing, of teeth can be caused by a wide variety of factors such as smoking, coffee, and tea.  The more regularly these staining agents are removed from the teeth using brushing and flossing techniques, the less likely it is that the stains will become permanent.

The Proper Way to Brush

The teeth should be brushed at least twice a day, ideally in the morning and before bed.  The perfect toothbrush is small in size with soft, rounded-end bristles, and is no more than three months old. The head of the brush needs to be small enough to access all areas of the mouth, and the bristles should be soft enough so as not to cause undue damage to the gum tissue.  The American Dental Association (ADA) has given electric toothbrushes their seal of approval, stating that those with rotating or oscillating heads are more effective than other toothbrushes. 

Here is a basic guide to proper brushing:

  1. Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle where the gums and teeth meet.
  2. Use small circular motions to gently brush the gumline and teeth. 
  3. Do not scrub or apply too much pressure to the teeth, as this can damage the gums and tooth enamel.
  4. Brush every surface of every tooth, cheek-side, tongue-side, and chewing surfaces. Place special emphasis on the surfaces of the back teeth.
  5. Use back and forth strokes to brush the chewing surfaces.
  6. Brush the tongue to remove fungi, food, and debris, and freshen your breath. 

The Proper Way to Floss

Flossing is a great way to clean between the teeth and under the gumlineFlossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone. The interdental regions are difficult to reach with a toothbrush and should be cleansed with dental floss on a daily basis.  The flavor and type of floss are unimportant; choose floss that will be easy and pleasant to use.

Here is a basic guide to proper flossing:

  1. Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap one end of the floss around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.  
  2. Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently work the floss between the teeth toward the gum line.
  3. Curve the floss in a C-shape around each individual tooth and under the gum line.  Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
  4. Do not pop the floss in and out between the teeth as this will inflame and cut the gums.

Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.

Rinsing – It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing and after meals if you are unable to brush.  If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.

 Use other dental aids as recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist, including:  interdental brushes, rubber tip stimulators, tongue cleaners, irrigation devices, fluoride, medicated rinses, etc.  These can all play a role in good dental home care.

If you have any questions about the correct way to brush or floss, please contact our office.

Contact Us

We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the quick contact form below.
SpamBlocker
 

Testimonials

View More
ACCESSIBILITY