How to Properly Brush and Floss

Brushing and flossing daily are essential for oral hygiene. Visiting our Raleigh dentist twice a year helps to remove the plaque and tartar, but a thorough home care oral health routine is just as important. Proper brushing and flossing can help your teeth sparkle and prevent those dental diseases from forming.

Proper Brushing & Flossing Can Help:

  • Prevent Tooth Decay – Tooth loss is most commonly caused by tooth decay. To treat tooth decay, it usually requires complex procedures. Tooth decay is caused by acids that erode your tooth enamel. Tooth decay can be prevented with a good oral health care routine at home.
  • Prevent Gum Disease – Gum disease, or Periodontal disease, is a serious condition that causes gum and jawbone recession, tooth loss, and more. The disease is caused by toxins found in plaque. Periodontal disease also causes other problems throughout the body. The best ways to ward off periodontal disease is to remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth using your toothbrush and dental floss.
  • Fight Halitosis – Bad breath (aka halitosis) is caused with food gets left on or between the teeth. You can get rid of leftover food particles and fight bad breath by brushing and flossing every day. Your mouth will be healthier, and your breath smells fresher.
  • Prevent Stains – Yellowish or stained teeth can be caused by habits like smoking, drinking coffee, or other dark beverages. Proper brushing and flossing will help stains from sticking. You can also rinse your mouth with water after drinking coffee to help wash away some of the stains that could become permanent.

The Proper Way to Brush your Teeth

You should brush your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once before you go to bed. Our Raleigh dentist recommends using a small toothbrush with soft, rounded-end bristles. The head of your toothbrush should be small enough to get to all areas of your mouth. Using a toothbrush with too hard of bristles can cause damage to your gum tissue. You can also try an electric toothbrush, approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Electric toothbrushes with rotating or oscillating heads can be more effective than a manual toothbrush.

Here is a basic guide to proper brushing:

  1. Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle where your gums meet your teeth.
  2. Use a small, gentle, circular motions to brush your teeth and gums.
  3. Scrubbing too hard or using too much pressure can cause damage to your teeth enamel and gums.
  4. Brush all the surfaces of every tooth, including the chewing surface. Brush your tongue, and sides of your cheeks. Make sure you get the surfaces of the back teeth especially well.
  5. Use a back and forth motion to brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
  6. Brush and scrape your tongue to remove fungi, food , and to help fight bad breath.

The Proper Way to Floss

Flossing helps to remove plaque from spaces between the teeth, or the interdental regions of your mouth. This is essential for preventing periodontal disease and limiting the depth of gum pockets. Interdental regions can’t be reached with a toothbrush, which is why flossing every day is so important. When choosing a floss, hoose a flavor and type that works best for you.

Here is a basic guide to proper flossing:

  1. Use a piece of floss between 12 and 16 inches long.
  2. Wrap the floss between your middle finger on each hand, leaving about 2 inches between your hands.
  3. Gently place the floss between the teeth at the gum line.
  4. Curve the floss around each tooth in a C-shape and gently slide it beneath your gum line.
  5. Carefully use an up and down motion to move the floss between your teeth to remove interdental plaque and debris.
  6. Be careful not to pop the floss in and out of the spaces between your teeth. This will inflame and cut your gums.

If you have any questions about the correct way to brush or floss, please ask your dentist or dental hygienist.