How to Properly Brush & Floss
While dental visits and professional cleanings can help to keep your mouth as healthy as possible, the best thing you can do is maintain excellent oral hygiene. Regular cleaning stops the build up of plaque and removes bacteria that cause inflammation, decay and cavities.
Regular brushing and flossing can help prevent the following:
- Tooth decay – Erosion of the enamel caused by plaque build-up. Decay is the main cause of tooth loss and treating it can be complex and invasive.
- Periodontal disease – This serious disease can cause tooth and bone loss, receding gums and jawbone recession. It can also lead to more serious health problems in other areas of the body.
- Halitosis – Bad breath is caused by food particles remaining in the mouth and on teeth for long periods of time.
- Staining – Foods and drinks can stain the teeth due to their dark or artificial colors. Smoking also can lead to staining but this can be removed through regular brushing.
Brushing Your Teeth
Brushing your teeth is a simple yet incredibly effective way to help minimize plague which can cause more serious issues in the future. Brushing a minimum of twice daily is recommended, however, it is good to aim to brush after each meal if it is possible. If it is not possible, rinsing the mouth with clean water will help remove any food particles from the mouth.
The correct way to brush is as follows:
- Brushing should involve both the tooth surface and the gums, so the bristles should always be felt on the gums.
- Brush all of the tooth surface, as well as gums in a small circular movement. Be sure the spaces between teeth are also brushed using the tip of the brush.
- Always brush your tongue and insides of cheeks as well to remove any bacteria that can cause bad breath.
Electric toothbrushes have been recommended over manual brushes as they remove plaque more effectively and the steps above can also be followed using an electric brush.
Flossing should not be neglected in your routine, as the bristles on a toothbrush cannot reach the spaces between the teeth and below the gumline. Floss is a great tool for helping to disrupt plaque colonies that can build up over time and cause inflammation and decay.
Flossing should be carried out as follows:
- Using roughly 12 to 16 inches of floss, wrap the ends around your forefingers and gently place inside the gaps of the tooth.
- Move the floss in a sawing motion to dislodge anything in the gaps and then an up and down to clean the sides of teeth.
- Curve the floss into a C shape and move in an up and down motion to clean the gumline.