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Here's How to Properly Floss and Brush Your Teeth

Ever since you were a child, you’ve been told to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. These are the pillars of your oral health, after all.

But think for a minute: When was the last time someone told you the proper way to brush and floss? It was likely when you were still that same child.

Here at Portrait Dental, we see the effects of improper brushing and flossing when we conduct our dental cleanings each day. It’s much better to learn how to do these procedures well than to deal with the cavities, gum disease, and poor oral health that can result if you skip these steps.

Your goal with brushing and flossing is to remove the plaque that builds up on and between your teeth that can attract harmful bacteria. Here’s how to do it.

How to brush properly

Your goal is to brush twice a day for two minutes each time. Starting with the outer surfaces of your teeth, tilt your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and brush against the gumline to remove any trapped food or debris. Then brush the teeth themselves, going back and forth with short, tooth-wide strokes. Do your upper teeth, then your lower teeth. Brush gently, without too much pressure.

Next, brush the inner surfaces of your upper and lower teeth in the same manner. It’s tempting to skip this step since you don’t see the inner surfaces as much, but plaque can build up there as well. Then, brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth with short, back and forth strokes on the tops and bottoms of these teeth.

Finally, brush your tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria that can lead to bad breath. The American Dental Association recommends using a soft-bristled brush that should be replaced every three to four months.

How to floss correctly

Flossing is important because it removes food and plaque from between your teeth, where your toothbrush can’t reach. Start with a piece of floss about 18 inches long, and wrap the ends around the middle fingers of each hand until there’s a gap of just a couple of inches left. 

Using your index fingers as guides, slide the floss between each pair of teeth. Curve the floss in a C-shape toward each tooth, sliding it all the way to the gum line and back two or three times to remove all food and bacteria.

Repeat these steps as you move to each pair of teeth. Be sure that you use a clean section of floss with each tooth.

If you’ve been negligent with brushing and flossing, our team at Portrait Dental is here to help with a professional dental cleaning that will get you back in tip-top shape. Just call our office at 501-381-1621, or use our easy online scheduler to book an appointment anytime.

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