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HOw to properly brush and floss

Oral hygiene is greatly improved by brushing and flossing regularly. Professional dental cleanings twice a year can help remove plaque, tartar, and debris, but they are not enough by themselves. Good homecare practices can also benefit the health of the mouth, make the smile brighter, and prevent serious diseases. Here are some reasons why brushing and flossing properly are important:

Prevention of tooth decay – Tooth decay can lead to tooth loss and require complex dental procedures to treat. It happens when the acids in plaque damage the natural enamel on the teeth. This can be easily avoided by using good home hygiene methods.

Prevention of periodontal disease – Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that can cause serious complications such as tooth loss, gum recession, and bone loss around teeth. It is caused by the toxins in plaque and can also affect the health of other parts of the body. Removing plaque and calculus (tartar) from the tooth surface with a toothbrush and from the spaces between the teeth with dental floss, is an excellent way to prevent periodontal problems.

Prevention of bad breath – Bad breath or halitosis is often caused by old food particles on or between the teeth. These food particles can be removed with regular brushing and flossing, making the mouth healthier and the breath fresher.

Prevention of staining – Staining, or yellowing, of teeth can be caused by many factors such as smoking, coffee, and tea. The more often these staining agents are removed from the teeth with brushing and flossing techniques, the less likely it is that the stains will become permanent.

The Proper Way to Brush

Brushing teeth at least twice a day, ideally in the morning and before bed, is important for oral hygiene. The best toothbrush is small, soft, and no older than three months. The brush head should be able to reach all parts of the mouth, and the bristles should not harm the gums or the tooth enamel. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends electric toothbrushes with rotating or oscillating heads, as they are more effective than other types of toothbrushes. Here are some steps to follow for proper brushing:

  1. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and teeth, emphasizing especially where the gums and teeth meet

  2. Use gentle circular motions to brush the teeth and the gumline.

  3. Avoid scrubbing or pressing too hard on the teeth, as this can damage the gums and the enamel.

  4. Brush every surface of every tooth, including the cheek-side, the tongue-side, and the chewing surfaces. Pay special attention to the back teeth.

  5. Use back and forth strokes to brush the chewing surfaces.

  6. Do not forget to brush the tongue to remove fungi, food, and debris.

The Proper Way to Floss

Flossing is an effective way to clean the areas between the teeth where plaque can accumulate. Flossing is especially important for preventing periodontal disease and keeping the gum pockets shallow. The areas between the teeth are hard to reach with a toothbrush and should be cleaned with dental floss every day. The flavor and type of floss do not matter; choose floss that will be easy and enjoyable to use. Here are some steps to follow for proper flossing:

  1. Take a piece of floss that is about 18 inches long.

  2. Wrap one end of the floss around the middle finger of the left hand and the other end around the middle finger of the right hand until the hands are 2-3 inches apart.

  3. Gently slide the floss between the teeth toward the gum line.

  4. Make a U-shape with the floss around each tooth and carefully slide it under the gum line.

  5. Move the floss up and down several times to remove plaque and debris between the teeth.

  6. Do not forcefully snap the floss in and out between the teeth as this will irritate and cut the gums.

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

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