Am I Brushing and Flossing Properly?

Am I Brushing and Flossing Properly?

Almost everyone knows what dentists recommend for good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.

Follow these practices, they tell you, and you’ll keep cavities, gum disease, and general disaster at bay. But do they ever tell you exactly how you should brush and floss your teeth to stay plaque- and bacteria-free?

Just in case you’ve never been taught the right ways to brush and floss, the team at Portrait Dental is here to set you straight. If you want to know exactly how to brush and floss properly, read on!

What’s the proper way to brush?

Let’s start with your toothbrush. The American Dental Association recommends a soft-bristled brush, so the bristles are tough enough to remove food and plaque, but soft enough that they don’t take the enamel off your teeth. Most adults should use a small- or medium-sized brush, so they can reach all the cracks and crevices around their teeth. You should switch your toothbrush every three months or whenever it begins to show wear-and-tear.

Now let’s talk about technique. You should brush for about two minutes. You can even set a timer or sing a song in your head to make sure you don’t cut your time short. Start with the outer surfaces of your teeth, and place the brush at a 45-degree angle. Use short strokes to clean off the surface of your teeth, as well as along the gumline to get rid of any trapped food or debris. 

Do the same for all inner and outer surfaces of your top and bottom teeth. Make sure you reach the back corners, where food tends to get trapped, and you can use vertical strokes to clean the inside of your front teeth.

You can use whatever toothpaste you like; if you’re having trouble deciding, talk to your dentist to see what they recommend.

What’s the proper way to floss?

Flossing helps get rid of any food, debris, or bacteria between your teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. Get about 18 inches of clean floss, and wind it around one or two fingers on each hand, leaving about an inch of free space to floss with. 

Floss between every tooth, pulling the string back and forth to dislodge any food. Wrap the floss around each tooth like a letter “C.”. After every few teeth, switch to a fresh section of floss so that you aren’t just transferring bacteria from one area to another.

If you’re just starting a flossing routine, your gums may bleed at first. This is normal, and the bleeding will soon diminish.

In addition to brushing and flossing, you should schedule regular professional teeth cleanings to get your teeth in tip-top condition. Coming in for regular dental visits also gives your dentist a chance to check your mouth for any potential problems that could become large problems in the future. Contact Portrait Dental today to set up your next cleaning. Just call our office, or use our online booking tool, and we’ll see you soon!

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