Daily brushing and flossing are the best ways to take care of your teeth and gums between visits to the dentist. They remove plaque that forms daily and can cause cavities, gum disease and even tooth loss. Fortunately, keeping your teeth clean is easy and takes only a few minutes a day. There are different ways to brush and several different types of tooth brushes. No one particular way of brushing has been found to be the best way but here are some helpful hints for keeping a healthy mouth for a lifetime.
1. Use a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste that contains fluoride, which is the most important part of brushing for preventing tooth decay.
2. Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums.
3. Move the brush in a gentle scrubbing motion, using short circular and back-and-forth strokes.
4. Pay attention to gently cleaning just under the gum line.
5. Brush the inner and outer tooth surfaces making sure you get all surfaces, between the teeth and just under the gums.
6. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
7. Brush at least twice a day, when you get up in the morning, preferably after breakfast; and before going to sleep for the night, after you have finished all eating and drinking for the day.
8. Rinse your toothbrush with water and store upright after use.
9. Spend enough time brushing. It usually takes about a full two minutes to get all tooth surfaces really clean.
1. Pull about 18 inches of floss and wrap most of it around the index or middle finger of each hand so you have only a few inches between your hands.
2. Hold the floss between your thumbs and fingers and saw between each set of teeth until the floss gently pops between the teeth.
3. Pull the floss tight against the side of one tooth so it forms a “C” shape and slide it up and down.
4. Gently get down below the gum between each tooth and gumline.
5. Repeat for each pair of teeth.
6. Remember to floss the backside of the back tooth in each corner of your mouth.
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“What Is the Best Technique for Brushing?” Academy of General Dentistry. Accessed 2013.
“For the Dental Patient: Healthy Mouth, Healthy Patient.” Journal of the American Dental Association. April 2006, vol. 137, p 563. Accessed 2013.
"Brushing Hard Causes Sensitive Teeth." Oral Care Center, WebMd, November 10, 2009 www.webmd.com/oral-health/news/20091110/brushing-too-hard-causes-sensitive-teeth. Accessed 2013.